For these reasons, Gravity Well is easy to praise and difficult to summarise. And yet more than the plot, it’s hard to describe its quality of stillness and patience. It makes it seem easy to come up with a secret, and perhaps even easy to hide it. The real work, it suggests, is to get to know people – in the language of novels, the characters. It’s really about what people are made of: their ambitions and their limits.
You can read the rest of the review from the Saturday Paper here.
Her dexterity in holding back the crux of the story for maximum impact is quite remarkable; we saw this particular skill with her first novel, Berlin Syndrome….Joosten portrays the women’s friendship and their psychological pain with grace, marking her as a truly significant writer in Australia.
You can read the rest of the review by Chris Gordon here.
Though there is loss at the centre of Gravity Well, Joosten knows that the most urgent observations about life come from making sense of the unfathomable. This is a carefully crafted, emotionally cathartic novel. Our journey away from suffering, Joosten suggests, begins with our movement towards each other.
Gretchen Shirm reviewed Gravity Well in The Australian. You can read it here.
Throughout Gravity Well, Joosten shows the different angles of the self, pressing us to consider how much can be revealed to another person, what secrets to keep, what sides to show, and through what filter. She is not only interested in the big themes: identity, death, momentous change. Small matters, domestic, and of the heart, matter a lot. This is the work of an elegant and vital novelist, someone fully engaged and grappling with the multitude of difficulties involved in the way we live now.
Louise Swinn reviewed Gravity Well in The Age/Sydney Morning Herald. You can read it here.
Melanie Joosten’s fine collection A Long Time Coming: Essays on Old Age investigates and reflects on how life is lived by many who may be at that “invisible turning point where we stop respecting the old and begin punishing them for existing”.
Her essays include accounts of visits to nursing homes, interviews with residents and staff, reflections on understanding dementia through fiction, on her particular dedication to writing and reading, and on her interest in how women experience ageing. In one chapter she explores “why old age should be a feminist cause”.
Read the rest of the review by Agnes Nieuwenhuizen here.
Old age may be a long time coming, but it is coming. This eloquent collection advocates for the elderly.
It was a Doris Lessing novel – specifically, Diary of a Good Neighbour – that inspired Melanie Joosten to take up social work with the idea of working with older people in need. Joosten did not want to live a life filled only with beautiful words, but with meaningful actions, too.In the very week that her debut novel Berlin Syndrome was published to great acclaim, she began meeting regularly with nursing-home residents, becoming a passionate advocate for the elderly.
You can read more of the review by Shelley McInnes here.
Chris Flynn reviews Berlin Syndrome on Radio National’s Book Show.
A review by Portia Lindsay on Crikey’s Literary Minded blog.
Review by Louise Swinn in the Age.
And what a ripper of a tale it is…a review from the good folk at Readings.