Trio
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Trio

Geraldine Wooller

Celia, Marcia, and Mickey meet and become friends in London. Searching for work and success in the theatre, they end up sharing a flat and a deep bond of friendship. Set in Italy, London and Australia from the sixties to current times, Trio is the story of their complex personalities and relationships, of the betrayals and desires that threaten to undermine what is in hindsight most important to them.

London is vibrantly alive in these pages, filled with music and drama, as is eighties and contemporary Perth, Australia, and Calabria, Italy. But at its heart this is a novel about love and friendship, loss and memory; about three unforgettable characters, and the special moments in all our lives that, through perceived hurt or fear, sometimes threaten to fall away and be lost forever.

In this, her fourth novel, Geraldine Wooller captures with masterful wit and intelligence, and without a hint of sentimentality the essence of the human predicament.

Review

West Australian author Geraldine Wooller’s fourth novel explores the depths and limitations of ‘that fragile thing’, friendship. Spanning five decades, from late 60s London, early 80s Calabria to post millennium Perth, Trio charts the peaks and troughs of, ‘a dodgy yet unregrettable, unforgettable time,’ between three friends as they forge careers, move countries, succeed and fail in love and get on with the messy business of living together and alone.

Drawn together by their passion for art, theatre and music, aesthete Australian set designer Celia, sensual English actress Marcia and troubled Irish director Mickey embark on an unconventional life together, sharing a flat in Earls Court as a mostly platonic threesome. Bit players dip in and out of their lives, changing the dynamic between them, but theirs is a relationship that endures distance, heartache, betrayal and eventual estrangement.

Slipping back and forth in time, Trio is told mostly from Celia and Marcia’s perspectives, spotlighting the domestic as well as the political. Wooller slowly builds a portrait of three artists dogged by unhappy childhoods, who crave connection with others but ultimately struggle to achieve it. Says Celia, ‘No one, not even family, has much idea of the inner life of the other,’ and there’s a lingering feeling that we also don’t get to know these characters as well as we might like.

Studded with pithy little life lessons and hard won insights, Trio moves at a meditative pace, one that will suit readers who prefer a reflective rather than an action driven novel. Wooller seeks to address life’s big questions of love, loss, grief and growing old: how do we live, where do we belong and how do we become who we are? After life has ‘belted her about a bit’, Celia finally concedes that the most important relationship she will ever have is with herself.


Sally Keighery is a freelance reviewer.

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