28 Questions

Indyana Schneider

28 Questions
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28 Questions

Indyana Schneider

‘Reader, imagine yielding to someone with a power so strong she has the ability to slice time. Before. Her. After.‘

When first-year music student Amalia stumbles into her Oxford college bar, she has no idea that everything is about to change. Seated across from her is Alex, a velvety-voiced fellow Australian with eyes the colour of her native sky. They strike up a friendship that is immediate - its intensity both thrilling and terrifying.


As the days and weeks go by, they spend more and more time together: philosophising, hypothesising, questioning everything. There is nothing they cannot talk about, except the one thing that matters most. Dare they risk a romantic entanglement if it threatens this most perfect of friendships?

Set across four years and five cities, and suffused with music, literature, art, dance, sex, and the exquisite pain and pleasure of first love, 28 Questions is a passionate and unforgettable first novel about love in all its guises, growing up, and figuring out who you are along the way.

Review

The premise of British-Australian opera singer Indyana Schneider’s novel, 28 Questions, is to examine what creates and sustains a successful relationship. It is set over four years, five cities and organised into 28 questions, which range from ‘what brings you pleasure’ to ‘do you find giving up easy?’ Schneider explores these ideas by delving into the lives of the two key characters, Oxford music student Amalia and Australian expat Alex. Certainly, I enjoy a love story as much as the next person; however, this is a novel more about growing up, rather than falling in love.

A better means of enjoying this book is to set aside the intended love story and to read it as an exposé on being young, hopeful and free. The questions posed by each chapter work wonderfully well to structure the novel, giving us a deep understanding of the two key characters. Amalia’s friendship with Alex allows us to explore music, literature, art, dance and sex. The author was also a music student at Oxford and her understanding of opera and scores is impressive, as is her sense of place.

This is a novel about owning a philosophical position. It is about the power of friendship and the importance of questioning influences. Some may consider the premise fanciful, but the writing is infused with colour and movement, celebrating sexual rendezvous and all the intense marvellous emotion shaped by passion and love. If you loved Sally Rooney or Diane Reid’s writing, or if you’re a romantic, then consider this for your next read. Or perhaps, like me, you simply need a reminder of how we become who we are; 28 Questions offers some answers.


Chris Gordon is the programming and events manager at Readings.

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