Before your brain can register what you're being told, you know that something is wrong. And before you can respond, it's already too late. Because once you've heard those words, an event is set into motion and everything will change.
"Help," he said. "He's not breathing." A tiny baby is rushed to hospital. Doctors find an injury to his brain and suspect he was shaken by his father, who is later charged and convicted. The baby grows up in the care of his mother. Life goes on.
Twelve years later, Ethan is now a singular young boy. Gifted with an innate affinity for physics and astronomy, Ethan sees the world in ways his classmates (and even his mum and teachers) simply can't - through a prism of light, time, stars and space.
Ethan is the centre of his mother's universe. Claire has tried to keep him safe - from illness, from feeling 'different', and from finding out what happened when he was a baby. But the older Ethan gets, the more questions he asks about his childhood and the father whose lifelong absence can't be explained by a single crushed photograph and a name, Mark, which is all Ethan has of him to cling to.
A single handwritten letter is all it takes to set off a chain of events which demand that the gravity of pure love pull both parents into Ethan's orbit. As the years seem to warp and bend, the past is both relived and revealed anew for each of them.
Relativity is an irresistible story about love, unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts and science.
"Relativity is wonderful, a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel that I feel certain will find the huge audience it deserves." (S J Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep and Second Life)
"Relativity is a novel of assured and measured empathy, a story of familial love and familial hurt that is fair, honest and remarkably non-judgemental. Hayes is a convincing writer and a true storyteller: her characters are alive." (Christis Tsiolkas, author of The Slap)
"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)
"Relativity is a transcendental book that manages to stay grounded and true in its warmth and pathos. With fully realised characters and a gripping storyline that unfolds into a carefully constructed equation of familial love, I could not put it down." (Alice Pung, author of Unplolished 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)
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