My Swedish neighbour is rebuilding. From my back garden I overheard her Australian builder loudly introducing her to a tradesman named Hans. ‘Now, we’re for it,’ he chortled. ‘It’ll be talk, talk, talk, no stopping you now.’ As I hung out the washing, I reflected that the Australian nervousness around ‘Continentals’ that Madeleine St John details so deliciously in her novel about 1950s Sydney, The Women in Black (1993), still resonates in the twenty-first century.
From Castlecrag to Notting Hill
The satirist from Sydney
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John
by Helen Trinca
Text Publishing, $32.99 pb, 280 pp, 9781921922848
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Sylvia Martin holds a doctorate in Women's Studies from Griffith University. She is the author of Passionate Friends: Mary Fullerton, Mabel Singleton and Miles Franklin (2001) and Ida Leeson: A life: Not a blue-stocking lady (2006). Her latest biography, Ink in Her Veins: The troubled life of Aileen Palmer, was published by UWAP in March 2016.
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