Lucy Neave is the author of the novels Believe in Me (2021) and Who We Were (shortlisted for the ACT Book of the Year), a Griffith Review prize-winning novella set in a horse hospital in Dubai, and short stories published in Australian and American literary journals. She has spent several years living in the United States: as a Fulbright scholar completing a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing; teaching English in universities; and in 2019 as a visiting scholar in the English Department at New York University. She currently works at the ANU in Canberra where she lives with her family.
Believe In Me
Set between the USA and Australia, Believe In Me focuses on a daughter’s attempt to piece together her mother Sarah’s early life. We follow Sarah’s journey from her home in upstate New York to Idaho, where she is sent to accompany a missionary. When Sarah falls pregnant she is despatched to relatives in Sydney to give birth at a home for unmarried mothers, where she is pressured to give up her baby, Bethany, for adoption. As Bethany learns more about her mother’s life, she comes to accept her own history and identity.
Believe in Me is about the extent to which the act of imagination—on the part of Bethany—may entail distortion and even forms of violence, but is nonetheless necessary: perhaps the only way a person can understand the sins and sufferings of their parents. Although Beth’s experience of growing up is entirely different from that of her mother, her attempt to engage with her mother’s life is a vital one, which enables her to address Sarah’s acts of deception, as well as her own and her mother’s persistent and conflicted attempts to show love.
Who We Were
Set during the Cold War, Who We Were is an intimate and powerful love story about trust, obsession and the truth itself.
It is 1938, and Annabel’s dream is to be a scientist. Falling in love is not part of her plan. But when she meets Bill Whitton, a medical student, she believes that they are destined for each other.
She has to wait for him to come back from the war. Then, the newlyweds emigrate to New York. They are at once captivated by fellow immigrants Frank, an ex-Communist from Hungary, and his playwright wife, Suzy. It’s the 1950s and the Cold War is in full swing. Frank, Annabel and Bill find work on weapons projects, experimenting with lethal infectious diseases.
Annabel’s whole being is anchored in her ardour for Bill and their work together. But other forces—suspicion, paranoia and deceit—are at play…