Hello Darkness by Sam de Brito – Observations

Perception – Taste – and Context

Hello Darkness is the second novel for character Ned Jelli. A stand alone work, it gives the reader an inciteful portrait of a 39 year old man, struggling with how he perceives himself, the expectations he applies and the fact he is a romantic at heart. We join him in the search for the white picket fence ideal of love and life. How will he achieve this dream, and really, is the dream ever actually attainable?

Ned’s story is told intimately, he talks to us, shares the confusion of his thoughts, his reactions and his goals. I know Ned, I’ve meet him at bars, I’ve dated him, I was even married to him for a while. He is a breathing contemporary character, his story a love story, his perceptions confused, and the effects of his drug antics nudging at you throughout the story.

I applaud Sam de Brito for his ability in charactisation. So often you come across a literary bad boy, one dimensional in his narcissism and misogynistic in his control. However, Ned Jelli, is a layered, complex soul struggling to make sense of expectations, social conformities and ideal dreams. His voice is the raw voice of a man, not written to seduce a female reader, nor to be compared to or challenged by another man. Ned Jelli is put out there, herpes and all, allowing him to be your brother, friend, or even ex lover.

I was particularly excited by the way the sex was dealt with. An honest look, of lust, love and being lonely. I came away wanting to find a work that incorporated de Brito’s frankness in the erotica world. I wanted to read exchanges between the male and female thought processes, something that included dialogue and allowed an appreciation for their differences. I think it would be fascinating, tantalising and highly erotic. I’m yet to find something, but when I do, I’ll let you know.

The hard print copy of Hello Darkness is currently only available in Australia. The cover a montage of newspaper prints and a stock Getty image of a man shaving. The publicity descriptions disclose a man struggling to define himself through his work, not even a faint whisper to define it as a love story.

This throws question after question up for me, are male writers not allowed to be seen as writers of intimate thoughts and love stories, does a love story in publishing instantly then become a romance, but then romances are written by women and always need happy endings. Don’t they? I think the combination of these questions and the debates that ensue become one of the key recommendations I have for Hello Darkness. You get to indulge in de Brito’s art of characterisation and then confont ideas of perception, taste and context. Homogeneously constructed marketing plans and the definitions that pigeon hole works in the publishing world, help to create restraints that I ultimately think keep many works from readers, who would likely become fans.

I would like to see the publishers translate this work and re package it for an international audience. Focusing less on man defined by occupation and more on man living and battling himself while pursuing the romantic dream. Although Hello Darkness is Australian in it’s settling, Ned Jelli could very well be a man in London, Paris, Berlin or New York.

Here is the publishers blurb and links to getting yourself a copy of this work, check it out and let me know what you think.

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In paperback and digital formats, Hello Darkness available through Pan Macmillian Australia‘s website and the Kindle edition is available at Amazon 

In Ned Jelli’s family, journalism and siren-chasing in the news pit of Sydney is in the genes. And everyone knows, you can’t escape your genes, or your family. At 39, Ned’s life has come full circle and he finds himself back in the news empire where he started his career at 19. And for a lost boy like Ned, where 20 years have been spent eddying around the same small course of Bondi, babes, and booze, this is the final sign he’s going nowhere fast. Held back by his own fear and loathing, and searching for the perfect woman to fill the black hole where his heart should be, Ned continues the fatal and often fatally funny trajectory he began in The Lost Boys. Set among the newsrooms of Sydney, Hello Darkness is a sharp, demonic expose of the world of journalism from an insider, exploring the cost of being less than you hoped you would, and wishing for what is beyond your reach.

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Sam de Brito

Sam de Brito is a contemporary artist. His medium the written word. His latest two novels, fine literary portraiture. He captures the essence of a man, trapped by …read more

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