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Greta & Valdin – debut novel by New Zealander Rebecca K Reilly out now in the UK

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Newly published in the UK, Greta & Valdin is this year’s entry in the contemporary fiction category, Hot European Postgrad Novel — think languid, vibey, literary romances about underfed but over-holidayed history of art students set in Dublin, Stockholm or Gothenburg. But now, thanks to the New Zealander Rebecca K Reilly’s zany, screwballin’ debut novel, the trend has gone global.

About the book

Siblings Greta and Valdin have, perhaps, too much in common. They’re flatmates, beholden to the same near-unpronounceable surname, and both make questionable choices when it comes to love.

Valdin is in love with his ex-boyfriend Xabi, who left the country because he thought he was making Valdin sad. Greta is in love with fellow English tutor Holly, who appears to be using her for admin support. But perhaps all is not lost. Valdin is coming to realize that he might not be so unlovable, and Greta, that she might be worth more than the papers she can mark.

Helping the siblings navigate queerness, multiracial identity, and the tendency of their love interests to flee, is the Vladisavljevic family: Maori-Russian-Catalonian, and as passionate as they are eccentric.

Rebecca K Reilly’s exploration of love, family, karaoke, and the generational reverberations of colonialism will make you laugh, cry, and fall for the whole Vladisavljevic bunch.

Reilly’s voice is delightfully confident . . . Greta & Valdin is a fantasy — specifically, one about the kind of quirky, progressive, dramatic-but-not-traumatic family everyone daydreams about. And for that reason I think lots of people will find it a total pleasure – The Times

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