Charlotte and Henry are set to discover if the grass really is greener on the other side of the world. Moving 'down under' to Perth will offer respite from the miserable English weather and a fresh start for a marriage beginning to be weighed down by young children and reluctant domesticity. But can relocation ever be the panacea it seems?
Moving between 1960s England, Australia and India (Henry's country of birth) this haunting story unflinchingly explores issues of marriage, motherhood and identity as well as the universal need to belong ... somewhere.
Some felt the descriptive prose challenging, and the ennui extended to the reader! A few loved the rendition of a life with young children and the echoes of needy personalities coping with parenting and emigration.
Overall our group rated this book between 6 & 7 and for most it wasn't an easy read. It was relatable to 4 of our group who were immigrants, but they didn't have the homesickness that Charlotte experienced. We all agreed she was depressed, had no family support and didn't seem to make friends easily. We felt she let herself be persuaded to go and that Henry was a bit naive about the racism he would encounter. Our question - the answer amongst the group to which was 50/50: 'Did she go back or walk away'
Everyone found this an easy read but didn't warm to the heroine. Several in our group have come to NZ as immigrants, and said it didn't reflect their experience.
We all (9 people) found this a very sad book. The girl's depression coloured all her actions and inactions. We thought the husband was depressed too - the lack of communication between them was typical of that era and their mental state.
Our Group comments did not favour this book although the discussion was long and detailed. Many questions about the characters were discussed but overall not really enjoyed with some members deciding not to finish the book. However the female character did evoke some sympathy.
All of us really enjoyed the book.
Very mixed feelings about this book. Two of us loved it, the style it is written in and the content. Others struggled. I loved it.
Well-written, and it prompted a long discussion on depression and relocating as a means to 'cure' the problem. Enjoyed by the group, and we thought that Stephanie Bishop was an excellent descriptive writer.
Some thought it well constructed, but most read it but did not enjoy it. However the themes of marital distress, depression and the move to Australia on the assisted package were discussed as what "home" means to us.