Six Bedrooms – Tegan Bennett Daylight

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Six Bedrooms is a collection of 10 short stories about the pain of coming of age. Some are loosely connected to each other via the sad and vulnerable Tasha. I enjoyed reading about her sad family life and close friends so much that I wished these stories had been spun out into a novel.

There’s so much familiarity in these stories – from the sly loss of virginity under the nose of a boyfriend to the quick and dirty one night stands had after parties in falling down inner city terraces, Bennett Daylight beautifully evokes the strange mix of uncertainty and freedom of what it is to be young before you truly know yourself.

Bennett Daylight’s writing is really lovely – from the dogs at her speech therapist’s house – ‘There were books everywhere, and three little dogs who had exploded like party favours when the front door was opened,’ to the beautiful scene Tasha has with her mother, ‘as the autumn afternoon slowed into gold‘, there’s a slow, beautiful feel to the writing that makes it all the more poignant.

The story that has stayed with me is the title one – Six Bedrooms. Set in a share house, it really honestly shows the web of friendships and hatred that are stirred up when people with lots of time on their hands live in each other’s pockets. The humililation the narrator experiences when the real story of one of the men she has been obsessing over is revealed felt so real to me.

I also loved the way each story ended with just enough information for the reader to piece together what had happened without joining the dots for them.

This is a beautiful, touching and wise collection.