'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 7 July 2023

Review: The Quiet and the Loud

Helena Fox, author of the magnificent How it Feels to Float, has created another exquisite novel with characters that are passionate about their beliefs, intentions, and the way they choose to live.

With complex and varied themes, Fox challenges with an in-your-face honesty that shows no regard for protocols, as she reflects on the remorse and disillusion felt by young people at a system not moving fast enough to rectify climate change and restore hope to the hopeless.

George is part of a group of friends that suffer emotionally because all they can see for the future is Armageddon. Her best friend, the pregnant Tess, is sucking the life from her with constant, clingy demands. Her dying father wants to make amends for his behaviour but doesn’t know how.

So, she runs; to escape all that can’t be changed: her past, her volatile relationship with her father, being unable to talk about her internal world; things that break her. Her head is filled with noise, and she can’t find a place of quiet.

George is always listening to others but has no one to listen to her. Until she meets Calliope. With her, George knows that lost and hidden things need to be found and sorted. How can these young people do that amidst a burning world of raging bushfires filling young lives with panic and fear.

The novel reflects strongly on people’s need to be listened to; to find someone they trust to tell things to. But this becomes the hardest thing when the person they want to hear them, is too full of their own pain, without room inside them to contain any more. Therefore, it’s knowing when to turn away; to leave things behind that can’t be resolved. 

Helena Fox feels things deeply, so she tears apart and puts together again in a way that clarifies all that’s gone before. Exquisite images are her specialty. Reading her work is to savour every word, every sentence.

Title: The Quiet and the Loud
Author: Helena Fox
Publisher: Pan Macmillan, $ 19.99
Publication Date: 28 March 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760983024
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction