The Morality of Gentlemen
Apcol, 243 pp
This fine first novel by a thirty-six-year-old Tasmanian woman was first published in 1984, but to the best of my knowledge has received only one review. Certainly, ABR missed it, and I would not have read it had it not been entered in the Vance and Nettie Palmer Victorian State Government awards for fiction. Had I been able to persuade my fellow judges of its merit, it would certainly have made the shortlist. Lohrey’s talent as a writer has finally been acknowledged in the latest issue of Scripsi, which prints an extract from the novel she is currently working on, as well as a substantial and thoughtful review by Anne Diamond.
The novel is based on a series of events that took place during the mid-1950s on the waterfront of Hobart involving the Hurseys, father and son. Although I was only about fourteen at the time, I can still remember the way the case dominated the newspaper headlines day after day and split my own family down the middle for a time, male against female, ALP-er against Grouper. For readers who wish to pursue it further, there is another superb fictional account in B.A. Santamaria’s autobiography.