Love & Virtue
Feminism, power and sex play out through the eyes of young Australian uni students in a contemporary narrative that is fiercely authentic
Whenever I say I was at university with Eve, people ask me what she was like, sceptical perhaps that she could have always been as whole and self-assured as she now appears. To which I say something like: ‘People are infinitely complex.’ But I say it in such a way—so pregnant with misanthropy—that it’s obvious I hate her.
Michaela and Eve are two bright, bold women who befriend each other their first year at a residential college at university, where they live in adjacent rooms. They could not be more different; one assured and popular – the other uncertain and eager-to-please. But something happens one night in O-week – a drunken encounter, a foggy memory that will force them to confront the realities of consent and wrestle with the dynamics of power.
Initially bonded by their wit and sharp eye for the colleges’ mix of material wealth and moral poverty, Michaela and Eve soon discover how fragile friendship is, and how capable of betrayal they both are.
Written with a strikingly contemporary voice that is both wickedly clever and incisive, issues of consent, class and institutional privilege, and feminism become provocations for enduring philosophical questions we face today.
‘an absolute cracker, Love & Virtue lobs right into the current moment with a clarifying light. I hope EVERYONE reads this book.’
Helen Garner, author of The First Stone and The Spare Room
‘Loved it…It’s electrifying.’
‘I inhaled it…an amazing book.’
‘set to be one of the year's most talked about books.’
‘Reid is a young author to watch.’
‘Love & Virtue is a formidable debut novel. The writing is punchy and clever, with characters so deeply drawn that they feel like friends and enemies from a former life.’
The Guardian Australia
‘Reid writes with ferocity and intelligence, and this novel demands attention and commands respect.’
Sunday Times Magazine
‘Love & Virtue is an accomplished novel - by turns funny and furious, and full of the plangent longing and confusion of early adulthood.’
The Saturday Paper
‘The prose crackles fiercely, luring readers in with phrases to mull over and taste before devouring the next delicious sentence.’
‘Love & Virtue’s strength is that it is principled but not preachy, eloquent but accessible. This exceptional debut novel is an absolute must-read companion to Helen Garner’s The First Stone.’
‘Diana Reid will be called the new Sally Rooney – you’re certain of it by the end of page one. By the end of this real, raw and startling novel, you know Reid is the talent to whom every smart young novelist who follows her will be compared – or hope to be.’
Meg Mason, author of Sorrow and Bliss
‘Reid’s prose interrogates everything we think we know about love. Heartfelt and unputdownable, this is a remarkably self-assured debut.’
Victoria Hannan, author of Kokomo
‘It is not enough to say Love & Virtue heralds the arrival of a new literary talent: Reid is intensely incisive and brilliant.’
Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done
‘A fierce new voice at just the right moment, shining a light on consent and class with clarity and grace.’
Inga Simpson, author of Where The Trees Were and Understory
‘Love & Virtue captures the near-erotic thrill of being a young woman, alone and adrift, who finds, in another young woman, an intellectual equal ... Like Elena and Lila in Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, a touchstone for Reid, their spark feels charged, given to exploding.’
Sydney Morning Herald
About the author
Diana Reid is a Sydney-based writer, who graduated from the University of Sydney last year with a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Hons Philosophy)/Laws. In January 2020, her career in theatre was off to a promising start: the musical she co-wrote and produced, 1984! The Musical!, debuted and she was set to direct and write theatre performances in Sydney and over to the Edinburgh Fringe. When COVID-19 saw the cancellation of global theatre, she decided she’d spend her time in shutdown writing a manuscript. Love & Virtue is her debut novel.