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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Gravity Well by Melanie Joosten - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Lotte and Eve are best friends. Lotte is an astronomer, who's sole focus is her work. Because of this Lotte and her family and friends are drifting apart. Eve is an artist working with sounds. She loves passionately, but isn't lucky when it comes to matters of the heart. When Lotte finds a job abroad the friendship slowly disappears. However, Eve is still part of Lotte's world and when Lotte returns from a long stay in South America, they both discover that it's more difficult to forgive, forget and move on than they initially thought. What will happen when disaster strikes, are Lotte and Eve strong enough to survive? Will they be able to work things out or will meeting each other again end in disaster?

Gravity Well is a beautiful heartbreaking story. Lotte and Eve are two very different women. Lotte is driven, focused and totally work oriented. She has a dream, she wants to follow in her mother's footsteps and she's dedicated to her job. This causes trouble in the rest of her life though, because Lotte is emotionally detached and her work is her main priority. That means she effortlessly leaves everyone she loves and each problem she has behind for the job she's always wanted. Eve tries to keep in touch with her, but her life has taken a direction Lotte isn't particularly happy with. For the first time their friendship is under pressure. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out more about their relationship, the trouble they have to deal with and the events that lead to so much unhappiness on both sides. Melanie Joosten kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

Eve and Lotte have a complex bond and Melanie Joosten describes their hopes, dreams, faults and struggles in a gorgeous open way. It's clear from the start something big is going to happen. This inevitability makes the story intriguing and nerve wracking. Melanie Joosten alternates between Lotte and Eve and I equally loved each character. They both have strong personalities and real problems. I read their story with tears in my eyes and loved how much I felt while reading Gravity Well. It's poignant, impressive and compelling. I highly recommend this amazing book.


If you love beautiful emotional stories you don't want to miss Gravity Well.

About Melanie Joosten

Melanie Joosten is a writer and social worker who lives in Melbourne. She is author of the novels Berlin Syndrome and Gravity Well, and the nonfiction essay collection A Long Time Coming: Essays on Old Age.

Melanie holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours), a Master of Arts (Editing) and a Master of Social Work. She works in social policy in the areas of seniors’ rights and elder abuse.

Melanie’s first novel, Berlin Syndrome (2011) saw her named as a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist and awarded the Kathleen Mitchell Award for Young Writers. Berlin Syndrome was released as a film in 2017 starring Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt, with a screenplay by Shaun Grant and directed by Cate Shortland.

A Long Time Coming: Essays on Old Age was awarded the People’s Choice prize at the Nib Waverley Awards in 2016.


Website // Twitter // Goodreads


1) Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in a very large family in country Victoria, Australia. I now live in Melbourne with my husband (also a writer) and our two daughters. I work part-time in social policy and write when I can. Though, to be honest, at the moment most of my time is taken up with looking after a toddler and a newborn.

2) Could you describe the friendship between Lotte and Eve?

I think it’s a friendship familiar to many women. Lotte and Eve don’t have a lot in common but they were there for each other through the formative years of their early twenties and this counts for a lot. Neither of them has sisters and in a way this is the role they play for one another, offering support and understanding without judgement. The strength of the friendship, however, is tested when their respective decisions impact on each other and it becomes easier to look away rather than be there for one another.

3) Your story deals with some very difficult subjects, how did you prepare to write the emotional scenes?

In some ways the emotional scenes were the easiest to write because the emotion is undiluted – you can only write directly into it. I find the surrounding scenes more difficult because they have to be more subtle and show the nuances of human behaviour. Emotions such as jealousy, joy and resignation can influence our behaviours in so many ways, but straight-up grief and anger often have very direct outbursts and behaviour that can actually be easier to write.

4) What does true friendship mean to you?

That the friendship itself is unconditional. You might still disagree, argue and judge but from a position of great love and compassion for the other person. I think true friendship means you genuinely want what is best for the other person, even if it’s not for you.

5) How did your writing journey start?

I always loved learning English and literature so when I went to university I studied some creative writing degrees. I was never much good at short stories – I find the expansive nature of novels gives me more space to explore and write into my ideas. I started work on my first novel when I moved cities and didn’t know anyone and tinkered away at it for years. It finally got to the point that I needed to finish it or throw it away so I took some time off work and really got stuck into it – and it was published 18 months later.

6) You’ve won several prizes with your books, how does that feel?

I’ve found it very validating – to see that all those hours of work alone have been appreciated by some one else is a good feeling. That said, I feel the same whenever anyone says they have read and enjoyed my work – I’m always surprised and pleased to find that people have stumbled across my books. Prizes engender complicated feelings though. For every prize I have won or been shortlisted for there are dozens where my books have not got a look in. And it doesn’t make the next book any easier to write.

7) You’re standing up for the rights of seniors, can you tell a bit more about this?

I studied social work and now work in policy for an elder abuse legal service. It’s an area I’m really passionate about because the rights of older people are often overlooked. I ended up writing a book of essays about the experiences of ageing in Australia and how our youth-focused society can make getting older more difficult than it needs to be.

8) Berlin Syndrome was turned into a film, were you involved in the process and what was it like when your book is being made into a movie?

It was a strange experience – the location and characters in the movie looked exactly as they did in my mind when I was writing the novel, but as often the way in adaptations the characters would then go and do things I never wrote! I am very grateful that Berlin Syndrome because while the film makers’ interpretation was quite different to mine it brought a lot more readers to my novel.

9) What are your plans for the future?

I’m working on another novel but having just had a second child I think it might be a few years before it sees the light of day.


Five very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of Gravity Well by Melanie Joosten.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Gravity Well sounds like an absorbing and beautifully written story about family, friendship, grief and forgiveness.

  2. This does sound really good, and so many women have friends who have drifted apart from distance, change in life circumstances, so what about getting back together. Very creative plot.

  3. You know your true friends because you can get together for the first time in years and it's like you were never apart.

  4. I am intrigued and I love this cover.

  5. looks absorbing and well-written!

  6. This does sounds like a very emotional book

  7. I love the cover, it's stunning!

  8. I'm intrigued by an author who is also a social worker, very promising for characterisation.

  9. Gravity Well sounds like an engaging story.

  10. The cover is quite beautiful. It would make a wonderful poster.

  11. This sounds like a lovely book

  12. This looks like a fabulous read!

  13. The cover illustration is beautiful - who designed it?