Review: Love & Virtue by Diana Reid

Through the prism of two young women at an elite residential college in Sydney, Diana Reid explores feminism, power, privilege, love and consent, as she asks us to re-examine our own perceptions of morality in her exceptional debut novel. 

First year scholarship students Michaela and Eve are at the centre of “Love & Virtue.” They’re both fiercely intelligent, although Eve is the more assured of the two, hailing from a wealthy family, as opposed to our narrator Michaela, for whom the scholarship is vital. 

Reid scrutinises their friendship over the course of a year (and a sprinkling of beyond) as the unveiling of a drunken encounter one night during O-week contorts the dynamics of their relationship. All the while Reid renders a sobering portrait of the institutional elitism and the complexities (and ramifications) of the gendered social system within the college with indelible style. 

“Love & Virtue” is great — as in, “one of my favourite books of the year” type great — because it doesn’t provide easy answers to the dilemmas facing its characters, and while it asks questions, it never loses sight of its purest intention, which is to entertain and stir. Diana Reid is an exciting new voice, and a welcome one.

ISBN: 9781761150111
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Available: 29th September 2021
Publisher: Ultimo Press

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