My enormous thanks to Lucy at legend Press for sending me a copy of The Geography of Friendship by Sally Piper in return for an honest review.
The Geography of Friendship will be published on 1st February 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
The Geography of Friendship
When three women set off on a hike through the wilderness they are anticipating the adventure of a lifetime. Over the next five days, as they face up to the challenging terrain, it soon becomes clear they are not alone.
Lisa, Samantha and Nicole have known each other since school. Lisa is a fighter, Samantha a peacekeeper and Nicole a rule follower. United they bring out the best in one another.
Only once it is too late for them to turn back do they appreciate the danger they are in. Their friendship is tested, and each of them must make a choice that will change their lives forever.
My Review of The Geography of Friendship
Old school friends Lisa, Samantha and Nicole retrace a hike they first completed years before.
Wow. The Geography of Friendship is a poignant, accomplished and tense exploration of relationships and how our past shapes us in our present. I found it a stunning read.
There’s something primeval and threatening from the outset of this story so that I felt tense and affected from the very first page. Sally Piper writes with such intelligent, poetic style that I was on the hike with Lisa, Samantha and Nicole. The physical descriptions are so beautifully crafted, evocative and accurate that I felt as if I were looking at a kaleidoscope of vivid jewels of language that kept shifting and uncovering a new perspective. There is constantly an undercurrent of imagery that made me keep thinking of nature being ‘red in tooth and claw’ so that it’s no exaggeration to say I had goosebumps at times as I read. The landscape in The Geography of Friendship is, rightly, no pastoral idyll.
It’s absolutely perfect that this is a story that involves the traditional collective power of three and what happens when that power balance fractures or is impacted by external forces. Lisa, Samantha and Nicole all have their equal place in the narrative and I found the structure of the story, with each woman being the focus in turn, with a balance of past and present events in each chapter, utterly mesmerising. I felt that not only did I understand each of the three personalities and why they were the women they had become, but that Sally Piper was holding up a magnifying glass to humanity, illustrating the potential for all of us to behave in particular ways. I don’t want to expand that point more for fear of spoiling the book for others!
The plot is shaped so cleverly. Tension builds as the past is gradually uncovered and I loved the concept of individual and collective memory that makes these three women who they are. A couple of the events are breathtakingly shocking yet utterly plausible, making me appreciate the quality of the writing still further.
The Geography of Friendship is an exploration of the literal and metaphorical geography of friendship, guilt and forgiveness. I found it menacing, atmospheric and literary. I thought it was completely wonderful.
About Sally Piper
Sally Piper is an award-winning Brisbane based writer. She is a former nurse and nurse educator, specialising in neurosurgical critical care, and has worked in both Australia and the UK.
Sally has had short fiction and non-fiction published in various online and print publications, including a prize-winning short story in the first One Book Many Brisbanes anthology, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper, Weekend Australian and WQ plus other literary magazines and journals in the UK. She has been interviewed for radio, been a guest panellist at literary festivals and delivered many author talks and readings.
Sally holds a Master of Arts (Research) in Creative Writing from Queensland University of Technology. During her post-graduate studies she also tutored on the QUT Creative Writing program. She currently presents workshops and seminars for the Queensland Writers’ Centre and mentors on their ‘Writer’s Surgery’ program.