Books & Literature

Book Review: Just Another Week in Suburbia, by Les Zig

A week in the life of Casper, a non-offensive school teacher in contemporary Australia who finds a condom in his wife’s bag, setting off a chain reaction.

A psychological review of suburban Australian life exploring trust, fidelity, and interpersonal relationships? It’s been done, yes, but here’s a version that is breathing life into the old trope.

In Just Another Week in Suburbia, we join a week in the life of Casper Gray, a non-offensive school teacher in contemporary Australia. In what seems to be a perfect-on-paper life (wife, dog, house with strange neighbours…), we’re soon introduced to the fears and fixations which grow and fester to overwhelm his mind.

Central to the book is the idea that one small event can kickstart a chain reaction which leads to the unravelling of an individual. When Casper discovers a condom in his wife, Jane’s, bag one night, it is like removing a layer in a house of cards or knocking over the first domino in a chain which will eventually see his fears grow into obsessions. He agonises, in great, painful detail about what to do and asks himself and us, as readers, if we can ever truly know and trust someone completely?

The pacing of this novel feels slow at many points and sometimes leaves you wanting to yell at Casper to do something. To engage. To get fired up and to take control of his life, and in that sense, Zig is to be commended. He has taken the somewhat monotonous elements of suburban life, the mistrust and fear which can develop between partners as well as the pressure of all those things left unsaid in a relationship and has packaged them up in one complex, tightly-laced character who we see unravel under the weight of his own psyche.

It’s a lot to go through and process in 300 odd pages, but it’s an enjoyable read that will draw you in with its wit, and keep you there as the drama builds.

Reviewed by Jenna Woods
Twitter: @jennaswoods

Rating out of 10: 7

Released by: Pantera Press
Release Date: September, 2017
RRP: $29.99

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