Tiddas – Anita Heiss
Simon & Schuster Australia, 2014
The five members of the Vixens book club have known each other since childhood. They are tiddas, the closest of friends, familiar with the ins and outs of each other’s lives – or so it seems. Each woman has her own secrets. Dealing with a surprise pregnancy while on the cusp of a career triumph, Izzy doesn’t know how to explain her mixed feelings to Xanthe, who is so desperate for a baby it’s all she can think about. Meanwhile Veronica is struggling in the aftermath of her divorce, Ellen’s loner lifestyle gains unwanted complications and Nadine would rather spend her evenings in the company of a bottle than finish writing her latest novel. Is there really such a thing as best friends forever?
Tiddas takes a very laid-back approach to each woman’s issues, sometimes to the detriment of the story – the plot is meandering rather than focused, and Xanthe in particular gets shortchanged emotionally. Heiss’s writing style was also a problem for me, being very much prone to telling rather than showing. I was delighted, though, to find a novel set in my home state. That hardly ever happens! Tiddas is speckled with affectionate references only a Brisbanite would really get, giving it a very strong sense of place. It’s also wonderful to read a book in which Aboriginal culture, and Aboriginal characters, are given such prominence. Heiss’s other works include Manhattan Dreaming and Paris Dreaming.