We could be something by Will Kostakis

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Harvey and Sotiris;
2 boys.
2 Greek boys.
2 gay Greek boys.

With so much in common, how separate are their stories?

The slow reveal of how the alternating chapters of We Could be Something relate is clever and propels the reader through several generations, from Perth to Sydney and back.

Like his character Sotiris, Kostakis has written a ‘semiautobiographical’ novel that is a heartfelt look at growing up Greek and gay in contemporary Australia.

Harvey, keen to leave school at 17, takes the opportunity of his fathers’ breakup, to leave Perth and return to Sydney and work in his grandmother’s café. Here he becomes enmeshed in the emotional demands of the four generations of Ba’s family, with his great-grandmother’s advancing dementia an increasing concern in their lives. An attraction to his co-worker Isabella contrasts with a series of fumbling Grindr hook-ups as he navigates his sexuality.

Meanwhile Sotiris, also 17, has just signed a book deal but is struggling to establish himself as an author and overcome his writer’s block and cynicism with the publishing industry. However his involvement with Jay from the bookshop is becoming ever more problematic, and a high-school nemesis returns with unexpected consequences.

We Could be Something deals sympathetically with the emotional turmoil felt by many young people; self-acceptance and family reactions to coming out, cross-cultural and intergenerational demands and expectations, responsibilities and responses to family members’ aging and dementia. It is funny and poignant by turns, as it chronicles the cost of following your dreams, or not, while seeking to be ‘something’ in relationships, as well as working lives. Reading notes and a teaching resource can be found at the publisher's website.

Themes: Family, LGBTQIA, Coming Out, Greek, Dementia.

Margaret Crohn