Review: Eliza Robertson's Wallflowers

I took a sneak peak into a story from Eliza Robertson's first book Wallflowers that hits shelves this summer (Hamish Hamilton, August 2014). Quiet and clever, there's a lot more play than can simply be pulled from the title. Read it close, or you may only hear pretty words.

“Who Will Water the Wallflowers?” isolates the feeling of being both alone and dependant. The story is a bird's eye view of a suburban Canadian neighbourhood. A single mother, teenage daughter, an absent neighbour, her cat named Cha-Cha, backyard raccoons, and a potentially-dysfunctional married couple the Bradleys. The tensions between characters are fine. Their relationships to each other are explored but not overdrawn.

Robertson picked an appropriate setting to highlight the relationship between loneliness and dependancy. Cat sitting. I have never felt more simultaneously alone and together than in the company of a cat. They're wanting inside, then outside. Cuddles, then claws. They're crying for food, and then they've barfed it up on the floor. Although this setting is a focus for the plot, its arc isn't drawn by a single character's experience, but the joint experience of a flood – connecting all the more, this story's message that some things are out of our control.

If this story is an indicator, the collection sounds promising. Keep your eyes peeled!

For more on Eliza Robertson:

- Cassie