Relativity : A Book Review


photo Amazon

Physics guides us through this novel by Antonia Hayes. The chapters are titled appropriately – motion, time, space,entropy, light, inertia, acceleration, mass, electricity, black holes,energy, magnetism,matter, antimatter and gravity. Possibly I learnt more about physics from this book than I did at high school and although it dealt with complex matters I couldn’t put it down.

It is the coming of age story of a boy, Ethan, who I diagnosed as on the autism spectrum. I was wrong. Ethan who lives with his mother, Claire, has trouble with bullies at school because he is different. Ethan can see physics. We learn of an injury Ethan sustained as a baby which led, the doctors believed , to him being an acquired savant. When he meets his father,Mark, (who had been doing a pHD in physics) he finds that for the first time he fits in and can communicate. However, he also finds out some family secrets about their past and he, his mother and his father need physics to bind them together.

Relativity deals with love, family trauma, guilt, the issue of career vs motherhood, friendship and most importantly the need for forgiveness. The characters are so fully developed that we can relate to each one of them and through physics human reactions are understood and accepted and forgiven. We understand so well that, even for events we would condemn the perpetrator of should we read about it in the newspaper, here we see innocence and forgiveness. The writing is beautiful. An example is a conversation between the two parents: ” Ethan came from a place of love” she said.

He smiled. ” We were like a supernova. Burned brightly and collapsed, but for a brief moment, we did outshine the rest of the galaxy. Stellar explosions stream elements from their core and release energy into the universe. So Ethan is a child of the stars.”

Apart from the family drama their is also a beautifully described friendship between Ethan and Allison, a little girl who he met in hospital. The book is set in Sydney and the author is an Australia although she currently lives in the United States. It has left me thinking and it is a book that I would recommend is worthy of putting on your TBR list, somewhere near the top.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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7 Responses to Relativity : A Book Review

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Sounds like an intelligent and moving book to read. I like that this author includes science in a creative way to move the story along, not just to add detail.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a son named Ethan who is a physicist. Your review of this book has convinced me to put it on my TBR list. Sounds like a wonderful story with a unique premise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this review of the book, Relativity, by Antonia Hayes, as featured on Irene Waters’ blog.


  4. What an unusual book theme! But I’m intrigued, so I’ll look for this.

    Liked by 1 person

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