Beautifully written. Both Henry and Charlotte were well-drawn characters, and I found Henry's love for Charlotte but utter cluelessness palpable, while Charlotte's loss of identity and depression were clear and sad. I felt sorry for her. The book opens with an explanation of nostalgia and this book is as much about nostalgia for a different time in one's own life as it is for any place (though both Australia and England and India are all vividly depicted). While I can't say it was my favourite read, I appreciate books that get me thinking the way this one did, about relationships, sacrifice and compromise, and yes, identity and home.
It is a mere slip of a book at 237 pages, but it is meaty and requires of the reader a commitment to engage with the piece.
It is the story of Charlotte and Henry who immigrate with their two babies from England to Australia in the mid 1960's. It is a tale of a woman struggling with the loss of herself into parenthood and who suffers with post natal depression. This is a beautifully written book that spans several years and the struggle of a young couple trying to find a place where they both belong. It is told in an omnipresent voice; we are privy to both Henry's and Charlotte's inner thoughts and feelings.
This book watches the slow descent into depression that leads to a character making a life altering course of action. This is not an easy book to read. Charlotte isn't a particularly nice character, and she triggers pity, anger, and, to some respect a kind of understanding of her actions in the midst of misery. Mostly it triggers confusion for her deeds and choices. We also see the inner personal struggle for Henry, of Indian extraction as he struggles to find a place where he feels he is accepted and belongs. It is a painful look at the division of duties in the 60's when the sexual liberation was just beginning but choice and freedom came too late for many. It looks unflinchingly from an insiders point of view being lost to self and feeling little more than a slave to conventions.
This competently written novel evokes a strong sense of place as it describes the contrasting landscapes of England and Australia and explores the power of geography in forging and sustaining identity. It also traces the growing disillusionment of the central character, Charlotte, with marriage, motherhood and life – a situation that moving to another country only exacerbates. However, Charlotte’s unrelenting malcontent made this book, for me, very hard to enjoy. In the end, I just felt exasperated, not sympathetic, and had to slog my way to the final page.
Winner of Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2015. Hannah Kent was guest judge and she said it was "beautifully written and atmospheric".
A beautifully written and deeply authentic book about loss and identity as a young family emigrates to Australia in the 1960s.
I know this book has received a lot of praise, and I was looking forward to reading it. But it just wasn't for me. I couldn't get into it. Although beautifully written, I really didn't like Charlotte, and in the end, hated what she did.
There are no ages for this title yet.
There are no summaries for this title yet.
There are no notices for this title yet.
There are no quotes for this title yet.