Siren

Siren

Siren

A brave new novel that sensitively explores one woman's experience of sexual violence and the silencing of those who feel compelled to speak out.

What happens when a young woman enters a city apartment early morning, with two footballers? Jordi Spence is sixteen years old and lives in outer Melbourne. By daybreak, her world has shifted. Max Carlisle, a troubled AFL star, can't stop what comes next. And Ruby, a single woman from the apartment block, is left with questions when she sees Jordi leave.

In this remarkable novel, Rachel Matthews captures the characters of Jordi and her family, the players, and the often loveable inhabitants of a big city with a deceptive lightness of touch that seduces the reader. Siren reveals the often unnoticed life of a city while simultaneously drawing us deep into a dark and troubling world. What happens has an unexpected effect on all those who are both directly and indirectly involved.

The result is a powerful and haunting novel about cultural stereotypes and expectations, love, loneliness, family and our struggle to connect. In so many ways, Matthews subtly sounds the siren on sexual violence and its prevalence in our culture.

Rachel Matthews grew up in country Victoria. She currently lives in Melbourne where she works as a VCE English teacher at the Distance Education Centre Vic and as a lecturer at RMIT. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Vinyl Inside (Transit Lounge), a novel set in a caravan park, and a contributor to news media. Her PhD in creative writing (Victoria University) featured an earlier version of Siren

Siren
Transit Lounge Publishing
Author: Rachel Matthews
ISBN: 9780995359567
RRP: $29.95

 

Interview with Rachel Matthews

Question: What inspired you to write Siren?

Rachel Matthews: Siren was part of a PhD at Victoria University where I looked at sexual violence in Australian Rules football. I was interested in examining the culture in which the problems exist. What I discovered was that there was no Australian fiction that dealt with the woman's experience in a complex way and explored the reality. I also discovered that the attitudes, language and crimes that take place are much bigger than football. I wanted to also present a sympathetic voice for the men in this space who are unable to speak up.


Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?

Rachel Matthews: I like to write about people who often don't have a voice, marginalised groups that are sometimes misrepresented in the media and in fiction and film. I like to challenge stereotypes and labels and show people as complex.


Question: There are several issues raised in this book. Was this deliberate or did the story evolve this way?

Rachel Matthews: The earlier versions of Siren were very shaped by the exegesis or research part of my PhD. As I dug more into my studies it became more apparent that violence is just as much a product of language and beliefs as it is a physical response.


Question: What do you hope readers get from the book?

Rachel Matthews: When you work on something for so long one of the joys is being able to share your story with readers. The hope is that it can be useful in some way or challenge and contest the problem. Fiction is a great space to start conversations and look at something from a different perspective.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

 

Siren
Transit Lounge Publishing
Author: Rachel Matthews
ISBN: 9780995359567
RRP: $29.95




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