Never Look Desperate is Sedaris meets Fleabag, a tragi-comedy romance set in Melbourne 2023. It features cremation bling, pineapple underwear, grief and vaccinated cruise ships. The central characters Bernard, Goldie and Minh are everything TED Talks tell you not to be.
The story tackles the absurdity of despair in a recovering world, the liberation from isolation and the wild frontier of middle-aged Tinder.
'Matthews’s voice is funny and wry and heartbreakingly honest. She has empathy for everyone — even those of us who, like Bernard, are a little bit hopeless but not entirely without hope...' — Toni Jordan, author of Addition, Nine Days, Fall Girl
‘Rachel Matthews understands the pleasures of tragi-comedy and knows exactly how to deliver them — the giggle that turns into a sob, the delight that morphs into insight, the black humour that assuages grief. The vulnerabilities of her characters make you want to scold them, scoop them up and tell them you love them.’ — Sian Prior, author of Shy: A memoir and Childless: A story of freedom and longing
'Matthews writes with unflinching honesty tempered by humour and a wise compassion. Touching, funny and sexy, Never Look Desperate is transgressive but hugely readable…' — Clare Strahan, Cracked and The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge
‘Never Look Desperate shines light on generational trauma and the effects it carries through our bloodlines in the most elegant and sophisticated ways. Without being afraid to touch on controversial topics, Rachel Matthews reveals the struggle of each character and their subsequent triumphs, entwining their stories to deliver a masterpiece on fear, resilience and, finally, love.’ — Shayling Ngo, journalist, Seven West Media, Perth
'Dense, wry, glorious and tragic…figures who lodge deep in the heart…the unravelling and humiliation of being human…with humour, complexity and wit. There are precarious moments evoked in the wider cultural backdrop to this story—the post-viral anxiety runs like a vein beneath the characters’ every thought. This work feels timely and tender.' — Ilka Tampke, author of Skin and Songwoman
'I was hooked. Rachel’s characters are always exquisitely crafted, yet utterly real.' — Di Websdale-Morrisey, On A Wing and a Prayer