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Relativity by [Hayes, Antonia]
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Relativity Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Length: 368 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Ethan is a bright young boy obsessed with physics and astronomy who lives with his mother, Claire. Claire has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he's becoming increasingly curious about his father's absence in his life, wanting to fill in the gaps.�
Claire's life is centred on Ethan; she is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son, and of her own feelings. When Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event from when he was a baby, Claire's tightly held world is split open.

On the other side of the country, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart. Then a sudden and unexpected call home forces him to confront his past, and the hole in his life that was once filled with his wife Claire and his son Ethan.

When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that - like gravity - pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Heart-wrenching, absorbing and magical, Relativity is an irresistible novel about science, love, unbreakable bonds and irreversible acts.
'The race�towards the conclusion keeps us guessing, but�ultimately, it's the beautifully drawn characters�who stay with you long after the final page.' Australian Women's Weekly
'Hayes has packed a complex story into compelling fiction and Relativity is proof that her star is only beginning to burn.' Sydney Morning Herald
'Relativity�is wonderful, a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel.'�SJ Watson, author of�Before I Go to Sleep�and�Second Life

'A transcendental book that mangers to stay grounded and true in its warmth and pathos.'�Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem and Laurinda
'Pulls you into the moment like you've unexpectedly pin-dropped through Antarctic ice . . .�Relativity upends expectations and holds you in its thrall as Hayes asks unsettling questions about the frailties of memory and love . . .�An Australian debut not to be missed.'�Readings Monthly
'Books like this don't come along that often. Grabit with both hands.' Marie Claire

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1564 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin eBooks (24 June 2015)
  • Sold by: Penguin Australia Pty Ltd
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00WFQ69XO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,317 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book in a day as I couldn't put it down. As the book blurb doesn't give any spoilers nor will I, but that does create some difficulties in doing a review justice. Firstly, it is beautifully written; from point of view of 12 year old Ethan, as well as his parents Mark and Claire. This is about mistakes and their consequences and parental guilt; but most of all it is a beautiful, poignant story of a child trying to find who he is and where his absent father fits in that equation. Despite some dark aspects to the topic it covers, the book is heartbreaking but not dark, and though in some ways the ending is a little disappointing, it is not because it is realistic rather then Hollywood, but rather because the rest of the book soars with magic and it is probably too much to expect any ending to carry that. As a psychiatrist who works in the area this book covers, this book reads as authentic - and better still, shows the need and the success (though not Hollywood style) of forgiveness in helping people to live the rest of their lives.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ethan Forsythe is 12 years old and lives with his mother, Claire, who is very protective of him. Ethan is fascinated by physics and astronomy, and is called ‘Stephen Hawking’ by the boys at his school. It’s easy to imagine Ethan continuing on his gifted way. But then two things happen: Ethan becomes ill, and his father Mark (whose own father is dying) reappears in his life.

Why has Mark been absent from Ethan’s life, and what is the cause of Ethan’s illness? As the story unfolds and continues in the present, we obtain differing views of the past. What really happened? Is it possible for Mark have a relationship with Ethan? Is it possible to write more about this aspect of the story without spoiling it for a new reader?

‘But secrets were like scars: they faded and softened, but as much as you tried to camouflage them, they didn’t completely disappear.’

In the present, Ethan and his friend Alison are building a time machine. Ethan searches for a source of quantum foam, and while I am lost in the explanation he gives Alison: ‘Quantum foam is the foundation of the fabric of the universe. It's subatomic spacetime turbulence. And the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle lets energy briefly decay into particles and antiparticles, and then annihilate without violation physical conservation laws.’, I recognise her demand that he ‘speak English’.

I enjoyed this story. Ms Hayes has written a complex novel, which includes a number of difficult issues. I really felt for Ethan trying to make sense of his world, trying to use his knowledge and his own particular logic to improve it. I closed the novel, mostly satisfied, still thinking about some of the issues raised. This is Ms Haye’s first novel: I’m hoping that there will be more.

‘Theories were disproven all the time. Ethan thought, sometimes everything we thought we knew turned out to be a colossal mistake.’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ethan lives with his mother and his father isn't in the picture. While Ethan is extremely intelligent and knows everything there is to know about astronomy he's socially awkward and doesn't have any friends. Something happened to him when he was a baby, but his mother Claire hasn't told Ethan anything about it. She tries to keep her son safe and protected, but that's just an illusion. When Mark, Ethan's father, is back in Sydney her secrets are bound to come out. How will Ethan react when he learns about his past and what exactly did happen to him when he was a baby?

Relativity is an impressive story. Ethan is such a sweet, gifted child, but he's also vulnerable and an easy target for bullies. My heart ached for him when I read about everything he's going through. He's strong, inventive, kind and forgiving, which makes him charming and endearing. Claire is closed off. She used to be a successful dancer, but is now living in the shadows. Ethan is her number one priority and she tries to shield him from the truth. They live such a secluded life. Claire doesn't have friends or family, so she and Ethan spend most of their time together. This might sound grim, but they love each other and there are plenty of happy moments. Their bond is fascinating. Claire has her flaws, but after reading about her past I could totally understand her behavior. Mark is smart and has always been interested in science. What happened with Ethan when he was a baby changed his life completely. I kept feeling ambivalent about his character, which is probably Antonia Hayes's exact intention. Reading about the family dynamics and slowly finding out what happened to Ethan when he was a baby kept me on the edge of my seat.

Antonia Hayes writes about physics and astronomy in a way that is easily understandable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As soon as I read a magazine profile piece on Antonia Hayes, I knew I had to read Relativity.

While the novel itself is a work of fiction, it is also semi-autobiographical.

You see, when Hayes was a new mother, only 19 years of age, her then partner (and father of the child) shook the six week old baby so hard that he sustained a severe brain injury.

The baby, Julian, survived but was left with serious developmental delays.

Four years later, Hayes started work on what would become the first draft of Relativity. Writing teacher, Jeanette Winterson advised her ‘to write from the wound’ – and the pain poured forth onto the page.

It is these sections – the ones written from direct experience – which are the most powerful in the novel.

Hayes writes with visceral authenticity about the panic and confusion that follows an experience of extreme trauma.

Before you hear any words, you can hear the panic. It surfaces as an irregularity of breath, a strain of vocal cords, a cry, a gasp. Panic exists on a frequency entirely its own. Air into air, particle by particle, panic vibrates through the elastic atmosphere faster than the speed of sound.

But it’s not all pain. The relationship between Ethan and his mother Claire is beautifully drawn.

'When Ethan looked at his mum, he saw another universe – a world intact, of soothing shapes and soft textures, of beautiful angles and the warmest light. His universe.'

What sort of person could harm a baby? It would be easy to dismiss a child abuser as a monster. But in Relativity, Hayes goes beneath the surface. The truth is – anyone can make a terrible decision in the heat of the moment.
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