Not one to shy away from confronting issues, Emily Maguire’s latest novel ‘Smoke In The Room’strays into the dark territory of mental illness. Set in Sydney, Maguire brings together three unlikely housemates who, despite being completely different, all share a profound grief. Katie is 23-years-old with bipolar and appears incapable of living with a male housemate without sleeping with him. Trying to prevent this from happening again, protecting Katie against the unnecessary hurt of rejection, her young grandmother suggests a solution in the form of introducing her to a docile non-drinking American Mormon and a gentle middle-aged refugee caseworker. With walls of sadness between them, the new housemates ultimately realise these surprising friendships will provide them with a sense of healing. ‘Smoke In The Room’ is a brave and intelligent novel that stresses “nobody is safe” but that at the same “nobody is doomed”.
‘Smoke In The Room’ is published by Picador, RRP $29.99 and available in stores in October.