'A compelling, immersive, utterly absorbing read. Hearst's arrival on the literary scene is a triumphal one. I cannot wait to see what she writes next.' Dr Lee Kofman.
Sorrow and Bliss meets Normal People in this utterly compelling, darkly humorous millennial coming-of-age novel about a 27-year-old single Jewish woman in Melbourne who must learn to reconcile family expectations, cultural constraints and inter-generational trauma with her own desires. A coruscating new voice.
'A remarkable debut from an enthralling storyteller. I didn't want it to end.' Sarah Krasnostein
At 27, Naomi is just trying to be a normal person. A normal person who works at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, who cares for lost things, found things, sacred things and her family. A person who finds herself going on bad blind dates, having cringe-worthy sex, a tumultuous, toxic affair, and falling for a man called Moses.
Being a normal person would be easy and fine if she didn't bear the weight of the unspoken grief of Cookie, her Holocaust-survivor grandmother. It would all be fine if she just knew how to be, without feeling the pull of expectation, the fear of disappointing others (men, friends, her parents, humanity), and that pesky problem of being attracted to all the wrong people (according to her parents, anyway).
By endlessly trying to please everyone around her, Naomi can't seem to figure out what she wants for herself, or how to get it. With echoes of the dead and dying all about her, in objects, in story, in her grandmother's firm grasp, Naomi isn't quite sure she knows how to be a normal person, but she is going to try.
This fiercely honest, funny and fearless novel is a deep dive into the complex questions that surround culture, identity politics and generational trauma in contemporary Australia. Both a sadly affectionate and brilliantly unsparing examination of the glorious, awkward, messiness of life.