May 08

There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett

This is The Indie Book Awards 2020 Book of the Year so attention needs to be paid.   The list of fans of There Was Still Love, and indeed anything written by the author, is as long as it is wide and I see why.   She is a beautiful storyteller.

I admit I read this one a little while ago and have not quite found the right words to talk about it.  Mostly because it made me think a lot about my grandparents.  It made me miss them more than normal if that’s possible – they are so much a part of how I move in this world.

I especially missed my nan reading this.  I missed her sister reading this. Parrett cracked my heart open and I just wanted them back.

But enough about me.

This is a sweeping story that begins in Prague in 1938 and finishes in both Prague and Melbourne in 1980.  In between, life happens for two sisters who are separated from each other in their youth in the blink of an eye. The rupture is deep, sudden and so unnecessary.

Alone, they create their lives and their own families worlds away from each other but their connection is a force of nature despite their dislocation.   The pages are heavy with  longing as the story jumps between the families over the years and it tells of their sacrifices, their joys, their vulnerabilities.

It all felt so familiar which is part of Parrett’s gift – not because of the locations obviously but because of the love and the idea of family – particularly the love between grandchildren and grandparents.  I am a huge devotee of Lily Brett’s work and if you know and like her too, I think you will like this one.  Parrett is like a cousin of Brett in style, storyline and they share the gift of writing human nuance with delicacy and humour.

This is a moving tale, full of heart, and it’s a timely reminder – particularly poignant in these isolated times – that when everything is stripped away, love is what matters.  At the end of it all, there is always love.

But that is just my 2 cents worth.