Frances McInherny

Seven Books for Grossman by Morris Lurie & Uphill Runner by James McQueen

May 1984, no. 60

Perhaps too many relatives, constant rain, and excessive New Year celebrations have left me cranky and cheerless, but Morris Lurie’s latest novel, Seven Books for Grossman, did little to improve the general malaise. It is a slight volume. It certainly lacks the insight and compassion of some of Lurie’s short story collections like Dirty Friends. It also lacks the humour.

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This is a very fine first novel by Jean Bedford. Her first publication was the collection of short stories, Country Girl Again, published by Sisters Press in 1978. Sister Kate justly deserves to be one of the two bestsellers in Melbourne.

The novel traces the life of Kate Kelly, sister of the famous Ned, and opens when Kate is twelve and Edward just returned from a three-year stint in Pentridge. He is shocked and outraged to learn that his brother, Jim, a mere sixteen-year-old, has been arrested for horse stealing and sent to Pentridge also. Ned is nineteen. Kate remarks:         

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