‘ … this is a book that must be read; its message is so important. Each of its characters are voiceless in different ways, and Matthews isn’t didactic in her depictions of how they came to be that way. This is simultaneously the most disturbing and compelling aspect of the novel – nobody is poor because they deserve it – they are poor because they were poor to begin with. This is an aspect of our lived reality that is sometimes difficult to even think about. This is not a book for reading at times of emotional vulnerability, but it is a book that must be read and learned from.’

Ellen Cregan, Readings Monthly 25 July 2017 https://www.readings.com.au/review/siren-by-rachel-matthews


‘… Matthews renders Jordi’s fate and the culture behind it with sharp urgency and a surprisingly delicate hand. Ageing footballer Max tries to stop his colleague, a meathead named Dirk, from assaulting Jordi, but is king-hit for his trouble. The rape is just the beginning of Jodi’s ordeal, and the novel elucidates her predicament, with the familiar victim blaming as the football world closes ranks. Siren is far from unrelentingly bleak. It’s an acute take on the toxic culture of macho celebrity, and pulls no punches on the sexual violence it can enable, but also a story illuminated by resilience and unexpected kindness.’

Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald, Age,  Brisbane Times, Canberra Times 2 September 2017


‘There’s Jordi, of course. Shell-shocked and traumatised by her attack, she is loath to report the incident. Also in the mix is Max, the ageing footy player who tried to protect her. With his bung wrist, his career is prematurely over and he copes by self-medicating. Ruby, a 40-something lonely heart who also lives in the block; Florence, a homeless elderly woman; and Jordi’s overwhelmed parents of five, Petra and Kane, are among others whose lives are documented. The circumstances surrounding Jordi’s sexploitation, the jock culture and the politics of victim-blaming form the crux of this book but Matthews is also interested in exploring dispossession, generational poverty, substance abuse and gambling.Siren is starkly written, though studded with tender details that mark its sensitivity to trauma and despair: the fake Prada heels worn by Jordi to impress merely highlight her youth (“But now her shoes were like everything else. They were hurting, they were letting her down”). Like George, Matthews’s sense of compassion for her characters informs and overlays her narrative. ‘

Thuy On, The Australian 5 August 2017



‘… Rachel Matthews acknowledges these issues and writes about them  in an in your face style that ensures the reader is unlikely to forget too quickly…’

Ashleigh Meikle, The Book Muse 26 July 2017


‘These topics are difficult ones to discuss but consider how hard this is for those who have experienced it first-hand. Siren is a book that proves that Rachel Matthew is the perfect mouthpiece for this topic and it’s one that ultimately requires further discussion.’

Natalie Salvo, AU Review 16 August 2017


Siren is not a subtle story, it’s  not meant to be. The prose is simple and unadorned, and there are no authorial tricks. It is blunt and forceful because it’s a sordid  story  that is too often smothered by powerful silence.’

Lisa Hill, ANZ Lit Lovers 28 July 2017


‘This is such an important story, so uncomfortable, “Gritty”, and totally believable. The title suggests several things; a siren in mythology was one whose singing lured sailors to their death, and of course, the siren to signify a game of football. Both of these meanings apply to this story, although the luring by the siren in this case was innocent.’

Blue Wolf Reviews 1 August 2017





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