About the Book
Ethan is a bright young boy obsessed with physics and astronomy who lives with his mother, Claire. Claire has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life, wanting to fill in the gaps.
Claire’s life is centred on Ethan; she is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son, and of her own feelings. When Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event from when he was a baby, Claire’s tightly held world is split open.
On the other side of the country, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart. Then a sudden and unexpected call home forces him to confront his past, and the hole in his life that was once filled with his wife Claire and his son Ethan.
When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that – like gravity – pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.
Sometimes a book comes into your life at just the right time, and the very minute you start reading you find yourself completely and utterly swept away in it… Relativity is one of those books for me. It’s a beautiful and incredibly moving book about a young boy, Ethan, who is trying to understand the world around him and his family situation. His life is complicated – his dad left when he was four months old and he knows nothing about him. His mum is a wonderful mum but she won’t tell him about his dad, and Ethan is at that age where he wants to know more.
Running through the novel is a lot of astronomy and physics and it’s all so beautifully woven into the story. It’s like the universe is echoing what is happening to Ethan and his mum Claire throughout the novel, and it adds an extra dimension (no pun intended!) to the pain and struggle that they are going through.
Ethan had a brain injury as a young baby and he seems to have been unaffected by it as he’s got older but then one day he has a seizure out of nowhere and this is the catalyst to him finding out more about his past. It also leads to a belief within the medical profession that this injury may have made Ethan special and unique in the world. At the same time as this is going on, we get to know a bit more about Ethan’s father, Mark. Mark is back in the same city as Ethan and Claire as his father is dying, and this leads to Mark wanting to get back in contact with his son.
Relativity at its heart is a very moving novel about the way one split-second act can change the course of many people’s lives, it’s about the way we remember our pasts and about how we have to find to learn to live with the fall out when secrets and lies are revealed. This is a novel will break your heart but it will also mend it.
The characters in this book came to feel like real people to me and I was genuinely bereft to finish the book and leave them behind. I keep finding them swirling around in my mind and wondering how they are. I love when a novel has this power over me.
On a personal note, I’ve never hidden the fact that in the past I suffered from cPTSD and that whilst I consider myself recovered now, I do always have to be mindful of my specific triggers. This novel was one that I probably wouldn’t have read if I’d known that part of the story involved seizures, and when I got to the part of the book where Ethan collapsed I almost stopped reading to protect myself. However, I was already so involved in with these characters that I wanted to know what would happen in the end so I kept reading and I genuinely feel like this novel has mended another little bit of me that I thought would always be broken. There are some really difficult subjects dealt with in this novel and all of it is handled so well, so carefully, and yet never shies away from the realities.
I would recommend this novel to everyone. It has so much depth to it and is so engrossing, and is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. Please go read it!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Relativity is published in paperback today!
About the Author
Antonia Hayes, who grew up in Sydney and spent her twenties in Paris, currently lives in London with her husband and son. Relativity is her first novel.