We Were Not Men

- Campbell Mattinson


A novel that punches you in the heart: the powerful, unbearably moving and ultimately uplifting story of twin brothers, Jon and Eden, as they grow up and begin to understand what it is to be men, and what it takes to knit a fractured family back together.

'We were sons, we were brothers. I didn't know how to be either.'

This is a story about love. About the love that nine-year-old twins Jon and Eden Hardacre have for their mum, for the creek that they swim in, for each other - this is the love that they trust, that's clear and pure as sunlight, as honey, as water.

But in the wake of a terrible accident, the boys have to grow up fast. They compete with each other to make the Olympic Games swimming squad, fall in love with the same girl, and begin to realise how complicated love can be and how it doesn't always show itself in the ways that we expect.

Heart-hammeringly original, intense and deeply moving, We Were Not Men is a powerhouse of a novel about all the various faces that love shows us and how sometimes, distracted by life, ambition or attraction, we take it for granted until it's too late - or almost too late. An unforgettable novel that pulses with grief, revelation, hope and love.



not my cup of tea:

* Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Australia for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *

There is some seriously heavy content within these pages. We Were Not Men tackles death, grief, love, and unexpected family with incredible honesty and exposed nerve endings. The writing was poetic, emoting more than explaining, and most of the settings, especially those on the farm or in the water, were vivid and realistic.

Unfortunately, Campbell Mattinson's writing style just didn't work for me. It felt like the characters never actually completed a sentence; they spoke in metaphors and similes with no context and somehow they all understood each other despite the stroke victim vibe of all of their conversations. The complicated love triangle wasn't surprising - if there's never a comprehensible conversation then no one knows where they stand - but it was confusing. Carmelina didn't have much of a role or even a personality so the twin's obsession didn't make a lot of sense. By the end, I was so ready for this story to be over because the incomplete phrases and sentences were breaking my brain.


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