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  • Published: 15 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143796640
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $29.99

The Adversary




A story about sexuality, the ache of friendship and love, and sticky summers at the pool, this exhilarating debut novel captures the heartbeat of one transformative summer where alliances are made and broken.

‘I was an agent of Dan, a captive of his, really. I went where he wanted me, and did as he wanted, and for a long time, in this way, I was happy.’

It’s been a long winter in a creaky house in Brunswick, where a young man has devoted himself to recreational showers, staring at his phone, and speculating on the activities of his best friend and housemate, Dan. But now summer is coming, and Dan has found a boyfriend and a job, so the young man is being pushed out into the world, in search of friendship and love.

The Adversary is a sticky summer novel about young people exploring their sexuality and their sociability, where everything smells like sunscreen and tastes like beer, but affections and alliances have consequences. It asks what kinds of stories are possible – or desirable – for which kinds of friendships, and what happens when you follow those stories to their natural conclusions.

  • Published: 15 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143796640
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $29.99

About the author

Ronnie Scott

Ronnie Scott writes essays and criticism for newspapers, websites and magazines. He's a Lecturer in the Writing and Publishing discipline at RMIT University. The Adversary is his first novel.

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Praise for The Adversary

It's a rare book that gives life to our lives as they're actually lived. The Adversary is stunning in its honesty, astounding in its intimacy. Warm, sexy, bittersweet, and capacious, Scott's novel is an instant classic – the boy-meets-boy-meets-boys debut I've been waiting to read for a long, long while. We're simply lucky to have it.

Bryan Washington

Terrific, sad and elegant and funny and also bloody moving. Quietly, unexpectedly moving.

Christos Tsiolkas

Ronnie Scott’s The Adversary offers that most rare and wonderful thing: a fresh, original voice. By turns claustrophobic and euphoric, intimate and defamiliarising, this slow-burn novel is smart, strange and utterly compelling. The kind of book that will have you missing the characters and wondering what they’re doing long after you greedily consume its final pages.

Emily Bitto

The Adversary is moving, moody, surprising, funny and wonderfully clear-eyed storytelling. Scott is a sharply observant master of the sexual and social lives of a group of friends, all in the process of becoming who they hope to be. This book doesn’t just engage the reader, it captures us.

Amy Bloom

Ronnie Scott captures the ironic cadence, casual obsessions and gay neuroses of a generation and delivers something wryly funny, very endearing and – in the best possible way – too real.

Benjamin Law

A subtle, savage and elegant work of fiction.

Peter Polites

Sharp, clever and fizzing with the kind of anxiety that provides a brittle edge to the gorgeousness of youth, The Adversary is a hilarious ride through queer Melbourne. If Evelyn Waugh had lived in Melbourne and had access to Grindr maybe he would have written The Adversary. Luckily we have Ronnie Scott.

Krissy Kneen

Awards & recognition

Queensland Literary Awards

Shortlisted  •  2020  •  The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award

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