ISBN-10: 1609456645
ISBN-13: 9781609456641
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publish Date: 05/04/2021
Dimensions: 8.20" L, 5.30" W, 0.80" H

Friends and Dark Shapes


Price: $17.00


Shortlisted for the 2021 Queensland Literary Awards

A group of housemates in Sydney’s inner city contend with gentrification, divisive politics, stalled careers, their own complicated privilege as second-generation Australians, and the evolving world of dating in this moving, funny, and stylish debut novel.

Sydney’s inner city is very much its own place, yet also a stand in for gentrifying inner-city suburbs the world over. Here, four young housemates struggle to untangle their complicated relationships while a poignant story of loss, grieving, and recovery unfolds.

The nameless narrator of this story has recently lost her father and now her existence is split in two: she conjures the past in which he was alive and yet lives in the present, where he is not. To others, she appears to have it all together, but the grief she still feels creates an insurmountable barrier between herself and others, between the life she had and the one she leads.

Wry, relatable, lyrical, and beautifully told, a book about politics, desire, youth, relationships and friends, Friends and Dark Shapes introduces a bold new Australian voice to American readers.

“Astonishingly assured and full of razor sharp observations about what it means to live precariously in a changing city. It’s hard to believe this is Bedford’s first novel.”–Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation and Weather

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"Bedford is a talented writer with a wonderful eye for detail, and her crisp, measured sentences are genuinely impressive. After grief, alienation and loneliness suffuse the novel, the story earns its way toward a sense of hope."–The New York Times Book Review

"An intimate, epiphanic portrait of millennial city life."–The Guardian

"Bedford beautifully portrays life of an Australian Indian writer struggling with grief a year after the death of her father [ . . . ] An insightful view of a city in flux."–Publishers Weekly

"Bedford's writing is compelling, lyrical and often nostalgic. Her characters, diverse in background, live complex lives with all the nuances and intricacies that are shared among second-generation immigrants. It is a beautiful and tender ode to Sydney."–Kill Your Darlings

"Bedford weaves a blanket of words that fans of complex literary fiction will fall into and savor."–Booklist

"An unflinching novel that captures the isolation and emotional overload of modern life."–ForeWord Reviews

"A tale of coexistence, kinship, and grief. Bedford's careful vignettes strike a skilled balance of refinement and depth. Exploring millennial life in a Redfern share house, Friends and Dark Shapes is a remarkable ethnographic fiction of what it means to be young, to live, and to have lost in Australia."–Judges' citation, Queensland Literary Awards (Shortlisted)

"An intricately observed mosaic that comes together to represent a multi-faceted story of a Sydney that is forever evolving, in ways both positive and destructive."–InDaily Australia

"Friends and Dark Shapes is a tender look at the myriad ways that a body can hold grief. Kavita Bedford writes lyrically and longingly, imbuing sweetness and darkness throughout. It was a genuine pleasure to read this book; I felt as though I were sitting with a close friend, whispering to each other, sharing close-kept secrets. It made me rethink how loneliness can manifest; how we sometimes hurt ourselves and each other. Friends and Dark Shapes is a real delight and Kavita Bedford is a true talent."–Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

"Incredibly well-written... a book for all the twenty or thirty-somethings grappling with city life and for all who were once in their shoes."–Literary Bread

"Kavita Bedford's novel Friends and Dark Shapes explores the false promises and precarity of writing in the age of the gig economy."–The Nation

"An achingly relatable, thought-provoking and compelling debut, full of gorgeous sentences that stopped me in my tracks."–Ewa Ramsey, author of The Morbids

"Friends and Dark Shapes smells and feels and tastes like Sydney, like grief, like the limbo and the lucidity of your twenties. Bedford's poetic yet sparse, fearless yet gentle prose makes this a book to be savored."–Laura McPhee-Browne, author of Cherry Beach

"Kavita Bedford gives the gift of brighter eyes. Her prose is sparse yet jeweled, a desert of out-of-the-blue opals and oases."–Vivian Pham, author of The Coconut Children

"Such a vivid geography: this is a work of smart intensities, witty sorrow and wise coming-to-terms with grief. Astute, wry and beautifully tender."–Gail Jones, author of Five Bells

More Reviews


ISBN-10: 1609456645
ISBN-13: 9781609456641
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publish Date: 05/04/2021
Dimensions: 8.20" L, 5.30" W, 0.80" H
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