When Things Are Alive They Hum

(Trade paper)
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Australian Women's Weekly Great Read

'Hannah Bent's outstanding debut is a wise, wondrous celebration of life.' - The Australian

'Hannah Bent has created a literary heroine of such pure beauty she takes your breath away.' - Australian Women's Weekly

'Read it if you like: Your sister, anything by Trent Dalton, having a good cry, and My Sister's Keeper.' - Mamamia

Marlowe and Harper share a bond deeper than most sisters, shaped by the loss of their mother in childhood. For Harper, living with what she calls the Up syndrome and gifted with an endless capacity for wonder, Marlowe and she are connected by an invisible thread, like the hum that connects all things. For Marlowe, they are bound by her fierce determination to keep Harper, born with a congenital heart disorder, alive.

Now twenty-five, Marlowe is living abroad when she receives the devastating call that Harper's heart is failing and she is being denied a transplant by the medical establishment. Marlowe rushes to her childhood home in Hong Kong to be by Harper's side and soon has to answer the question - what lengths would you go to save your sister?

When Things are Alive They Hum poses profound questions about the nature of love and existence, the ways grief changes us, and how we confront the hand fate has dealt us. Intensely moving, exquisitely written and literally humming with wonder, it is a novel that celebrates life in all its guises, and what comes after.


'When literature is alive it hums, and rattles and warms and hurts and heals. Hannah Bent and her wondrous Harper and Marlowe have changed the way I've been going about my days. What a gift.' - Trent Dalton, author of Boy Swallows Universe and All Our Shimmering Skies

'A simply beautiful novel.' - Good Reading

'...what stayed with me was the achingly beautiful portrayal of the love between the two sisters. If I had a sister, that is how I would like to feel.' - Nicole Abadee, Sydney Morning Herald

'heartbreakingly beautiful' - Family Circle