I have had a sudden burst of reading and these are three of the books I have read.
The second book was also linked to old age but with the added twist of involving members of an online bookclub.
There were so many aspects of the story that reminded me of people I had known or still know. I loved the fact that there were four books that had been selected by the readers to reveal something of themselves. Of particular interest to me was the choice of Tirra Lirra by the River as I had it in my pile of “To Read” books as it was a winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 1978. Mention was also made of the poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox , I had written about her in a previous post in 2011.
“The tightness of a small-town family life, a sanctimonious and mean-hearted husband, the torpor of suburbia – these she endures and finally escapes. On her flight from cruel realities she is sustained by desperate courage, discerning intelligence and ebullient humour.”
There is a wonderful article by the author Anna Funder on the set texts for secondary students in Melbourne in the 1980s which I suggest you have a look at.
“. . . . Tirra Lirra was a set text for secondary school students in Melbourne, Australia, along with Christina Stead’s masterpiece The Man Who Loved Children and Carson McCullers’ sublime The Member of the Wedding. They are a trifecta of high art, terror and truth that are almost too powerful to give to teenagers, which is to say exactly what they crave and need (as opposed to “relevant” books about “issues” which are “resolved” in candy-floss epiphanies and “growth and change moments”).. . . . “
At the end of her article she acknowledges the influence this book had on her own novel All That I Am.
I highly recommend this novel.