It is 1941 and the storm clouds of war gather over Australia. In the mountains outside Sydney the Massey family are reunited by their father's death. Gilbert is a successful novelist, struggling with writer's block in middle age. A socialist and intellectual, he shares his political understanding - and fears - with his sister Marty and Marxist brother Nick. But he is locked in an unhappy marriage with a woman of little imagination and obsessive respectability, and their daughters, Prue and Virginia, are as incompatible as their parents.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, war becomes a reality. As Gilbert and his family are overtaken by the forces of history they must come to terms with their personal and public failures, and watch as the new generation inevitably mirrors the contradictions and turmoil of the old.
About the Author
Eleanor Dark (1901-1985), author, was born on 26 August 1901 at Croydon, Sydney, second of three children of Sydney-born parents Dowell O’Reilly, schoolteacher and author, and his wife Eleanor Grace, née McCulloch, who died in 1914 after an unhappy marriage and a period of ill health. Small, dark and elfin, 'Pixie', as she was known to her family, attended several private schools before boarding at Redlands, Neutral Bay, from 1916 to 1920. She became very fond of her stepmother, Marie (Mollie) Miles, whom her father had married in 1917.
Although Pixie had written verse from the age of 7, as the family’s finances grew tighter her hopes of university and a writing career faded. After attending Stott & Hoare’s Business College, she worked as a stenographer for a firm of solicitors, Makinson, Plunkett & d’Apice, for eighteen months. She married Eric Payten Dark, a medical practitioner and a widower with an infant son, John, on 1 February 1922 at St Matthias’s Church of England, Paddington. Eric and Eleanor shared many interests: literature, history, tennis, bushwalking, mountain-climbing and gardening. Next year they moved to Katoomba. In the relative isolation of the Blue Mountains she resumed writing. Eric enthusiastically encouraged her. They were absorbed in each other; John moved back and forth between them and his mother’s family and later boarded at Sydney Grammar School, visiting the Darks for occasional weekends. Their son Michael was born in 1929; Eleanor was and remained a devoted mother to him.
Dark used the pseudonyms 'P. O’R.' and 'Patricia O’Rane' for the verse which she wrote in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was published in Australia by journals including the Triad, Bulletin and Woman’s Mirror, but was not very significant. Her short stories were also published in these journals and in Motoring News, Home and Ink. She wrote most of her ten novels in the 1930s and 1940s. Seven had contemporary themes; the others formed a historical trilogy.
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st September 2012
Edition Number: 1