Published: 19th January 2017 (Corsair)
Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.
His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.
Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.
Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.
Ethan is a very special young boy,he is different from the other boys at school and is picked on but he is absolutely passionate about physics. For as long as he can remember, it has always been just Ethan and his mum, Claire, however as he gets older he is becoming more intrigued as to the reason behind his father’s absence.
Mark lives the other side of Australia but heads back to Sydney when he finds out that his father is gravely ill – this brings back lots of emotions and initiates Mark trying to get in touch with Claire however what he wasn’t expecting was his letter being intercepted by Ethan.
There are lots of physics references in Relativity both in the chapter names as well as the discussions that Ethan holds with others – I really enjoyed these parts and science is not really my thing! They gave this book a different voice and made me think about the discussion that the characters are having about the universe, the cosmos and relativity.
This book pulls you in right from the start, at its base is a tough subject matter however this is sensitively handled by Hayes and will, indirectly raise awareness (you’ll have to read the book to understand what I’m going on about!!). Relativity is a beautifully written novel, heartfelt and full of emotion – it has a well-thought out plot with complex characters. Ethan and Alison are fantastic and, despite their young ages they are full of wisdom, their interactions throughout are both funny and heartwarming. I didn’t warm particularly well to Claire but I think this is representative of the walls she has built in order to deal with the past and protect Ethan (and herself) from anymore pain.
Relativity will stay with me for some time, I didn’t want it to be over and it has left me with a ‘book hangover’! Just stunning.
About Antonia Hayes
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.