Living On Hope Street

Living On Hope Street
Written by Demet Divaroren
Contemporary, #LoveOzYA
256 Pages
Published June 2017
Thank you to Allen & Unwin
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★★★★★
We all love someone. We all fear something. Sometimes they live right next door or even closer.

Kane will do everything he can to save his mother and his little brother Sam from the violence of his father, even if it means becoming a monster himself. Mrs Aslan will protect the boys no matter what, even though her own family is in pieces. Ada wants a family she can count on, while she faces new questions about herself. Mr Bailey is afraid of the refugees next door, but his worst fear will take another form. And Gugulethu is just trying to make a life away from terror.

On this street, everyone comes from different places, but to find peace they will have to discover what unites them.
Kane and his family are casualties of alcoholism and domestic violence. His father a violent man who has held his family to ransom, his mother recovering from her fractured marriage. Terrified his father will return, Kane is resolute and will sacrifice his benevolence to defend his family. While Kane is resentful, brother Sam continues to regress and is plagued by nightmares of his father. The narrative commences with perspectives from brothers Kane and Sam, their father physically assaulting their mother before the police are notified and child welfare services intervene. The residents of Hope Street understand the volatile environment of domestic violence, refusing to intervene.

Mrs Aslan cares for Sam and Kane as though they were her own grandchildren, estranged from granddaughter Ada after an altercation with her mother. Ms Aslan now lives alone, migrating to Australia as a young woman from Türkiye, her devoted husband passing away shortly before her abandonment. Elderly neighbour Mrs Aslan is a compassionate woman and a thirty year resident of the suburban Hope Street. While neighbour Angie is hospitalised, Mrs Aslan cares for her children while aspiring to reconnect with her granddaughter Ada. Ada is a young woman exploring her sexual identity and pushing against her parental guidelines.

Gugulethu's family have very few possessions but are among the wealthiest families on Hope Street, the Bulawayo family sought refuge in Australia and are blessed to live with freedom and opportunity. Mr Bailey is a Vietnam war veteran, living with his wife and experiences debilitating post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the conflict. Perched at his window all day watching his neighbours, bigoted and judgemental. 

The houses are debilitated, the gardens parched by the unforgiving Australian climate but in the suburbs of Melbourne resides the residents of Hope Street. Wonderfully diverse characters representative of our families, our neighbours and communities throughout Melbourne. Living on Hope Street explores the lives of immigrant, asylum seeking and Australian families, examining socioeconomic, faith, domestic violence, racism, prejudice and sexuality from considerable and compassionate perspectives. A remarkable and compelling debut from author Demet Divaroren. 

20 comments

  1. I haven't heard of this one before, but it certainly sounds interesting. I'll be adding this to my to-read list. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It's a brilliant read Rochelle, you won't be disappointed.

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  2. Great review. This novel packs a tonne of social issues in it. Glad you found it to be a realistic portrayal

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    1. It was wonderful Resh, such a realistic portrayal of diverse Australia and our suburbs. Really enjoyed it. One of my favourite reads this year.

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  3. That cover is stunning and I like the idea of both brothers perspectives.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. It was really fascinating to see how they both approached the same situation. Kane is much older than Sam, so Kane is angry and vowing revenge against his father while Sam regresses and is terrified his father will return and hurt Kane. The community coming together is magnificent and only highlights the need for unity.

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  4. This sounds like a very great, thoughtful novel. I like that it focuses so much on the neighborhood/community too.

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    1. Me too Lauren. It's one of the aspects that intrigued me most. I loved the sense of community and how the neighbours grew to respect one another. The adults could have learned from watching Sam and Gugulethu interact with one another.

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  5. Ah, this sounds wonderful & heartbreaking and so timely. Wonderful review, Kelly.

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    1. Thank you Verushka darling. Such a wonderful community narration and one of my favourite #LoveOzYA reads I've had the pleasure of reading.

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  6. oh wow... sounds oddly familiar, like the news?

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    1. It's the realism I think Ailyn, this could take place in any street anywhere around the country. Compelling reading.

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  7. I haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds like an interesting but heartbreaking read. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Amanda. Brilliant book and one I highly recommend.

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  8. I hadn't heard of this book before, but your review has me intrigued! I shall be keeping an eye out for it!

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    1. I'd love to see what you think of it Cilla.

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  9. This feels like such a nice and emotional read. I love how Kane is so devoted to his family. Physical abuse is a really sensitive topic for me. Glad to know you enjoyed it! Will definitely check it out :)
    Haniya
    booknauthors.blogspot.com

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    1. I could relate to Kane and Sam's situation as well Haniya, it was heartbreaking and confronting at times but such an important narrative. I loved the sense of community and coming together. Such a remarkable read.

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  10. I'm so looking forward to reading Demet's debut <3 :-) it is top of my To Buy list once my tax refund lands in my bank.

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    1. Ooh, thanks for the reminder. It's magnificent Sarah, can't wait to see what you think of it.

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