Love and Virtue
Sex. Power. Consent.
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 during 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.
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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.
Reid's prose interrogates everything we think we know about love. Heartfelt and unputdownable, this is a remarkably self-assured debut.
It is not enough to say Love & Virtue heralds the arrival of a new literary talent: Reid is intensely incisive and brilliant.
A fierce new voice at just the right moment, shining a light on consent and class with clarity and grace.