Susan Sheridan reviews 'Do Oysters Get Bored?: A curious life' by Rozanna Lilley

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Do Oysters Get Bored?: A curious life' by Rozanna Lilley

Do Oysters Get Bored?: A curious life

by Rozanna Lilley

UWA Publishing, $29.99 pb, 228 pp, 9781742589633

At the centre of this book is Oscar, the son of Rozanna Lilley and her husband, Neil Maclean, and Oscar’s particular way of encountering the world. Unpredictably (by most people’s standards), he is indifferent to some things, sharply affected by others. His fears – of the outdoors, of night and the watching moon, of dogs, for example – are frequently disabling for him and unnerving for other people. He also has an endearing capacity for humour and theatricality. For instance, inspired by his reading of the Mr Men series (supposedly good for helping him to understand different emotions and personalities), he responds to his mother’s reproaching him for greed at a hotel buffet. ‘He looks me up and down. “Mum, you are Miss Perfect,” he comments neutrally. “Who am I? Mr Greedy or Mr Messy?”’

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Susan Sheridan

Susan Sheridan

Susan Sheridan FAHA is Emeritus Professor in the School of Humanities at Flinders University in Adelaide. Her latest book is The Fiction of Thea Astley (2016). Earlier books include: Nine Lives: Postwar Women Writers Making Their Mark (2011), Christina Stead (1988), Along the Faultlines: Sex, Race and Nation in Australian Women’s Writing 1880s to 1930s (1995), and Who Was That Woman? The Australian Women’s Weekly in the Postwar Years (2002); as editor, Grafts: Feminist Cultural Criticism (1988), Debutante Nation: Feminism Contests the 1890s (1993) with Sue Rowley and Susan Magarey, and Thea Astley’s Fictional Worlds (2006), with Paul Genoni.

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