Category Archives: Families

Larissa Behrendt – After Story

Something of a miracle has just occurred in Australia. A four year old girl, who disappeared  in the night while her family was camping in a remote area of Western Australia, has been found alive and well after being gone for eighteen days. The whole country is rejoicing.

But while this was happening, I was reading Larissa Behrendt’s novel After Story where a child who was taken from her family home was never seen alive again.

Continue reading Larissa Behrendt – After Story

Annie Ernaux – The Years

Annie Ernaux was born in Normandy in 1940 the daughter of working-class parents who eventually came to own a cafe-grocery store. She became a teacher and started writing in 1974. Her slender books chart the events of her life and deal with issues that concern all women; her relationship with her father and mother, her adolescence, her marriage, her mother’s death, her own illness. Continue reading Annie Ernaux – The Years

Tara Westover: Educated



“I have been teaching in Cambridge for more than thirty years,” he said, “and this is one of the best essays I‘ve read.”

I was prepared for insults, but not for this…

I could tolerate any form of cruelty better than kindness. Praise was a poison to me; I choked on it. I wanted the Professor to shout at me, wanted it so deeply I felt dizzy from the deprivation. The ugliness of me had to be given expression.

Continue reading Tara Westover: Educated

Across the Common – Elizabeth Berridge

‘Across the Common’…a nice English title, you think perhaps a cosy Barbara Pymish book about a young woman finding her way in life in a small village. But then if I tell you it was published in America under the title The Violent Past, you might wonder how the two titles could refer to the same book. But then you might consider Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Comyns and recall how their very Englishness had quite a dark side to it. And Elizabeth Berridge belongs very much in the company of these great female writers. I find it remarkable she is so little known. I would never have discovered her if I had not read a review of a recent reprint of her short stories Tell it to a Stranger (Thank you Guy at where this quote really appealed to me, the reflection of an aging woman on a visit from her great nephew ‘Another bit of cargo dropped overboard to lighten the boat on its lonely journey over a darkening sea.’ Continue reading Across the Common – Elizabeth Berridge