As the only child of conventional parents, Lily is drawn to the flamboyant lifestyle of her best friend Eva's family. The Trenthams were avant-garde artists, hosts of a bohemian community who actively rejected the conservatism of 1930s Melbourne. Now 40 years later as they come together for a retrospective exhibition, Lily examines the events of the past when Evan and Helene Trentham's spectacular neglect of their children set in motion dramatic events whose repercussions are still being felt.
Loosely based on Melbourne's Heide Circle artists' colony, this is a beautifully crafted award-winning novel of substance that chronicles the rise and fall of a family and the price to be paid for the creative life. [Larger font]
An engaging read and insight into the art scene in Melbourne. Great questions, short and sweet.
This book was enjoyed by everyone.
This was a popular book with the young members of our group. Everyone enjoyed it and if our meeting hadn't been a Xmas one, it would have provided good conversations.
Everybody thoroughly enjoyed this book. Led to great discussion.
Our group enjoyed this book. Well-written. Interesting themes, including what it means to be an only child, growing up in an unconventional family, and the nature of the 'artistic temperament/personality'.
We all enjoyed it as a read. But the characters didn't develop enough, and the relationship with her parents didn't ring true.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this book.
We all really enjoyed it and had a great discussion.
We all enjoyed this book. It was well-written and thought-provoking. You could say that "when anything goes, something gives way", as a summary of the story.
A challenging book to read, due to its construction and the number of characters to follow.
Everyone in our group really liked this book. We thought it was very well-written with some excellent passages of description and vivid metaphors.The characters were well-drawn and several provoked a good deal of discussion. Why did they act/not act as they did What are the responsibilities of parents to their children We also discussed possible similarities in unconventional communities in New Zealand.
Beautifully written. Evocative of the arts groups of the times. Fascinated by the ethics of dysfunctional families. Strong female characters.
We really enjoyed this book - wonderful story of bohemian life, arty world and child neglect!
A good portrayal of "bohemian" types of their era - clever,talented, well shod usually, and probably similar (in some ways) to artists in NZ - now and then!!
This book created wonderful discussion. Almost unanimously, we rated it a great read. All agreed the writing was very skilful, with wonderful use of metaphors, for example. We found the portrayal of the 1930s Australian art scene fascinating,and the plot intriguing. The characters, especially the main 'storyteller', were interesting and believable. Throughout, a sense of "impending doom", as one member put it, made this a page turner of high quality.
The group generally thought the book was well-written, but were underwhelmed about the theme.
Most of the group enjoyed it.
An interesting, and we thought, well-written story based on the Heide Circle artistic commune. Interesting development of character. The artists themselves were a mixed group of people who left the children to their own devices. Enjoyed by all.