“In that moment, the aching longing to be somewhere else was finally gone. Somewhere that wasn’t The Nowhere. Somewhere that wasn’t my own skin. In the darkness, I was sure I could hear the night whispering to me. Telling me it secrets, now it knew mine.”
– The Nowhere, Chris Gill
When Seb’s mother died, his life changed dramatically. His father, Stuart, dragged Seb and his younger brother away from Perth city to move to the country and fulfil his dream of becoming a cattle farmer. Far from civilisation, or teenagers his own age, Seb has become desperately lonely, dreaming of escaping the farm, or as he calls it, “The Nowhere”. Then, when a new family and their rebellious son Jake move in next door, everything starts to change.
Fast forward twenty years, Seb is now a nurse and it’s been decades since he last saw Jake. Thus when Jake calls out of the blue, suggesting the pair meet up for coffee, Seb is startled and hesitant. Will this blast from the past force Seb to confront the truth about what really happened on the farm, all those years ago?
First of all I’d like to say a huge thank you to Chris Gill and PRNTD Publishing for providing me with a copy of this gorgeous book to review!
I went into The Nowhere with few expectations, I was attracted to the book because of it’s beautiful cover (for some reason, I just love minimalist covers) and because it was set in Western Australia, the city I’ve lived in for my entire life. Though in the past, I haven’t come across many books with Perth settings that I’ve actually enjoyed. I didn’t know an awful lot about the plot, except that the story takes place in a rural area and potentially involved a m/m romance. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when I loved this book from the very beginning.
As I said, one of the elements I most enjoyed about the book is its Australian setting. I felt Gill described the dusty outback perfectly, and though the ocean was only briefly mentioned, he somehow also captured the Australian love of the beach really well. I also liked Gill’s use of Australian slang! It wasn’t too over the top, but it was fun reading about characters who used words like “bogan” and “pashing”. Plus, Jake’s tendency to tack the word “mate” onto the end of half his sentences reminded me of several people I know.
Another thing I loved about The Nowhere was the relationship between Seb and Jake. This isn’t the kind of cutesy romance you see in books like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (though I did love that one too), it’s angsty, raw and full of longing. Seb and Jake are two characters drawn together by loneliness, and both are confused by the complex and intense bond they share. Something about the way Seb obsessed over Jake, and Jake’s looming sense of emotional instability gave the book kind of a psychological thriller feel, at times, though as a whole it would more likely to be described as a coming of age story or general fiction. Their relationship is very central to the plot of the book, and it was both very realistic and well written.
Overall, The Nowhere is a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves mystery and raw, human drama. Or anyone looking for an LGBT+ read! I’d also say that I think it’s probably best going into this book without knowing too much about it, it’s a very character driven story and mystery is at the heart of it’s plot, so I think it’s best to just keep an open mind and let the book surprise you