In this inventive début novel, Pip Smith recounts the multiple lives of Eugenia Falleni, the ‘man-woman’ who in 1920, as Harry Crawford, was convicted of murdering his first wife, Annie Birkett. Smith employs various types of text–sketches, newspaper articles, witness statements – alongside third-person accounts – to embroider an archive rich in narrative possibilities. The story moves from Wellington, New Zealand, in 1885 to Sydney in the first half of the twentieth century. Each of Falleni’s multiple selves (Nina, Tally Ho, Harry Crawford, Jack, Gene, and Jean Ford) tells his or her own first-person story. In this way, the structure of the novel conveys Falleni’s perpetually shifting identity.
Anna MacDonald reviews 'Half Wild' by Pip Smith
by Pip Smith
Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 390 pp, 97812760294649
Anna MacDonald writes about spatial poetics and the topographical imagination. She has published numerous essays on W.G. Sebald, Gaston...
Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.
If you are already a subscriber, click here, or on the ‘Log In’ tab in the top right hand corner of the screen, and enter your username and password to log in. If you have logged in but are still seeing this message your subscription to ABR Online may have expired. Please contact us or click here to renew your subscription to ABR Online. More information about ABR Online can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.