Maggie Mackellar: When it Rains

Frameworks of grief

Bernadette Brennan


When It Rains: A Memoir
by Maggie Mackellar
Vintage, $29.95 pb, 223 pp, 9781741669602


Maggie Mackellar’s stunning new memoir, When It Rains, narrates her journey through the disorienting landscape of loss and mourning. As a young academic, pregnant with her second child and uncomplicatedly in love with her athletic husband, the boundaries of Mackellar’s world seem fairly secure. With her husband’s sudden psychic disintegration and suicide, the foundations of that world collapse. She gives birth to a son, struggles to juggle single motherhood and an academic career, and, with her mother’s help, learns to appreciate small moments of beauty amid the pain

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Bernadette Brennan

Bernadette Brennan

Bernadette Brennan is a former Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, and a former President of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL). Dr Brennan has published widely on various aspects of Australian literature. She is currently working on a critical biography of Helen Garner.

Published in November 2010 no. 326

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.