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Rachel Robertson

Gaining a Sense of Self is the record of Wilson’s first twenty-five years, a story that obviously took great courage to revisit, recreate, and publish. Born in 1942 to a couple whose marriage was already disintegrating, Wilson had a childhood of poverty, hunger, and abuse. Her father, initially absent because of his work in the navy, left the family when Wilson was six years old, and she rarely saw him after this. It was from her mother that Wilson suffered physical and psychological abuse. This appears to have started when Wilson was very young: she describes being battered by her mother when she accidentally broke a doll at the age of two.

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I was always going to be a novelist. At the age of six, I wrote fiction about a Willie Wagtail, whose best friend was an ant (even then I had a good grasp on relationships). Several years later I had moved on to human protagonists, mainly young girls living at boarding school and excelling at ballet. I had no experience of either, but I had my dreams. As an adolescent I wrote stories about homelessness and drug addiction, once again from vicarious experience. Then I went to university to do a literature degree and realised that great Australian novelists were serious, learned and (then) mostly male. I still wanted to write my novel, but I decided to live a bit first.

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I have often admired the mystical way of Pythagoras, and the secret magic of numbers.
Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici
The real world is not given to us, but put to us by way of a riddle.
Albert Einstein

In the kitchen of my mother’s houses there has always been a wooden stand with a ...

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