Love and Virtue


I heard about Love & Virtue on Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales' Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast which I listen to sometimes, and even before Annabel Crabb started raving about Diana Reid being the new Sally Rooney, my attention was caught by the fact that the novel is set in an Australian residential college. I have to admit that my first reaction was annoyance, because I've been working on a novel set in a residential college myself! Ain't it always the way?? But in the end it's been a positive thing, because reading Reid's novel has pushed me to take my own WIP in a different, and stronger, direction.

Helen Garner has described Love & Virtue as 'an absolute cracker' and I can only agree. I read it greedily, with recognition (even though my own college experience was 30 years ago and Reid is only 25!) admiration and dismay (at the subject matter, not the writing). Not much has changed in colleges, it seems, except that students today are more aware that the behaviour they encounter, and participate in, is not good! This is a work of fiction, but firmly grounded in personal experience.

First year Michaela ticks off all the usual uni boxes: making new friends, meeting boys, feeling out of her depth in lectures, falling in love. But each of these events has a twist to it which leaves Michaela wiser, sadder and more vulnerable than when she arrived. Reid skewers campus culture and sexual politics with wit, elegance and real feeling. This is a terrific, timely, and extremely readable novel.


  1. Thanks for recommending this novel, Kate. It had so much to say about the experience of entering a world of privilege and exclusivity that's not set up for you at all...when you are young, female, clever, insecure, wanting to find your place but not sure what that is. Ah, the transformative magic of binge drinking!

  2. Oh, God, yes. I shudder now, but I don't know how I would have managed without it!