The Adversary by Ronnie Scott

With his debut novel The Adversary, Ronnie Scott has gifted readers the most relatable coming-of-age narrative I’ve encountered in some time. With a hot and empty Melbourne summer ahead our unnamed protagonist, a homebody in denial, finds himself slowly coaxed into the world by his housemate Dan. The two were uni friends on tandem paths, sharing first tutorials and then a Brunswick terrace. But now undergrad is over and the real world has created a fork in the road.

For Dan, adulthood is appealing, complete with new job and new boyfriend. But our protagonist is reluctant to head as far from home as the Fitzroy Baths. Scott has captured a pitch-perfect slice of the inner-north of Melbourne. It’s an overly real world with repetitious geography that slowly expands to foreshadow the gradual and near-invisible transition from young adult to slightly less bumbling adult.

The Adversary is a coming-of-age novel set in the not-too-distant past; a time when being in your twenties doesn’t mean that you’re an adult, rather, it’s a time when you’re just a kid fumbling through, trying to find a way, and to work out what works.

Full of humour and resulting in the some of the biggest laughs a book as given me in a long time, it’s early to make the call but it is certainly going to be hard to top The Adversary as book of the year for me.


Ford Thomas is part of the online Readings team.

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The Adversary

The Adversary

Ronnie Scott

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