Campbell Mattinson

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We Were Not Men

book | Fiction | Jun 2021
ANZ → HarperCollins (Ed. Catherine Milne)

A novel that punches you in the heart: the powerful, unbearably moving and ultimately uplifting story of twin brothers, Jon and Eden, as they grow up and begin to understand what it is to be men, and what it takes to knit a fractured family back together.

'We were sons, we were brothers. I didn't know how to be either.'

This is a story about love. About the love that nine-year-old twins Jon and Eden Hardacre have for their mum, for the creek that they swim in, for each other – this is the love that they trust, that's clear and pure as sunlight, as honey, as water.

But in the wake of a terrible accident, the boys have to grow up fast. They compete with each other to make the Olympic Games swimming squad, fall in love with the same girl, and begin to realise how complicated love can be and how it doesn't always show itself in the ways that we expect.

Heart-hammeringly original, intense and deeply moving, We Were Not Men is a powerhouse of a novel about all the various faces that love shows us and how sometimes, distracted by life, ambition or attraction, we take it for granted until it's too late – or almost too late. An unforgettable novel that pulses with grief, revelation, hope and love.


Nadia Mokdad manages the translation rights for We Were Not Men

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A gut-punching, soul-restoring exploration of brotherhood and human bonds that bend but do not break. You'll dive in at the deep end and you won't want to stop swimming in Campbell Mattinson's words.

Trent Dalton, author of Boy Swallows Universe

Mattinson charts the rough terrain of grief with a tender, huge-hearted story of rivalry and love.

Mark Brandi

The writing is sparse, unashamedly intimate and laced with pensive pauses, an approach that excels at conveying Jon’s fraught interior life. We Were Not Men is an affecting story of brothers who bond over shared loss and forge their identities swimming against the tide.

Nathan Smith
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Tara Wynne

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Cathryn Summerhayes
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Translation Rights
Nadia Mokdad

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