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Hannah and Huia

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Charlotte Lobb
July 2023
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Hannah is in a mental health unit, in shock and rendered speechless following the sudden death of her husband and baby son one rainy night – for which she feels unspeak-able guilt. She pays little attention to her institutional surroundings as events play and replay inside her head. There is no way out, no way back, and no future she can possibly imagine, just an endless, unbearable present. Huia is also there, a long-term resident who lives entirely in her own inner world, a woman who seems unable to communicate. Her mutterings, her sleeve-plucking, her foot-tapping? Well, that’s just Huia. But who is she? What is her story and why does she play on Hannah’s mind? No one else pays attention to Huia’s condition, but Hannah is drawn to the mystery of the older woman … Huia has something to teach Hannah, if only Hannah pays attention – and she does. Gradually drawn out of her own web of misery, Hannah learns to read Huia and decides to follow the tiny clues back to the source and discover the truth of Huia. In the process, she uncovers the strange bonds that unite them and finds it might, after all, be possible to save her own life – that families can and should heal. And Huia is her path to redemption. Two women, two literally unspeakable tragedies, two families, one powerful and unforgettable story. No one should ever be made to feel invisible. And you are never alone.