For everyone Book review: Why We Are Here, Briohny Doyle

Why We Are Here, Briohny Doyle’s strongest novel yet, tells the story of BB who, having just lost her father and her partner in quick succession, moves with her dog, Baby, back to the beachside town where she grew up. There, she contemplates life, remembers her life before these losses, and tries to go about her days. 

There are rich neighbours, pandemic lockdowns, university classes taught via Zoom, and affairs, as we go for a wander alongside BB, who does a great deal of walking, with Baby at her side. Her new life is devoid of the easy meaning it once had and she considers what is left. 

Why We Are Here is a work of autofiction from Briohny Doyle, author of the Miles Franklin Award-longlisted Echolalia and one of the sharpest writers around. It is for lovers of literary fiction who are happy to sit with discomfort, who understand that some questions can’t adequately be answered, and who know that grief is an all-encompassing beast, and that it’s passing can take a lifetime.


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