When Things are Alive They Hum

When Things are Alive They Hum


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Review by Anne Day


Marlowe, a student in London, needs to return home to Hong Kong. Her sister Harper, born with Downes syndrome or ups syndrome as she calls it, has a heart condition and is very sick.

The sisters share a deep bond and Marlowe is prepared to put her life aside to fight for her sisters right to a new heart being denied to her given her disability.

Their joyous love for one another is beautifully expressed in this wise and wonderful celebration of life.


Other Reviews


‘When literature is alive it hums, and rattles and warms and hurts and heals. Hannah Bent and her wondrous Harper and Marlowe have changed the way I’ve been going about my days. What a gift.’

– Trent Dalton, author of Boy Swallows Universe and All Our Shimmering Skies

‘One of the most captivating and memorable books I’ve read in a long time. Brave, tender and heartfelt, I foresee cheese platters stripped down to the last cracker as bookclubs reflect on this beautiful and thought-provoking novel.’

– Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

‘Hannah Bent’s novel is compelling and tender, powerfully placing the reader in the heart and the mind of two sisters with contrasting expectations of life, and the imperatives of love. At times this pulls them in dangerously different directions but ultimately their ability to honour the essence of each other reminds us that in doing so, life-giving expansion is possible even when life itself may be diminishing.’

– Suzanne Daniel, author of Allegra in Three Parts

‘My heart feels larger for reading Hannah Bent’s beautiful debut. This is a novel which hums with love, truth and tenderness. I defy readers not to fall in love with Marlowe and Harper.’

– Kathryn Heyman, author of Fury