'My mother sent you this,' he said.
'Oh?' 'I believe it's some marmalade,' he said. 'From the latest batch.'
'How kind,' said Nicola, opening the bag. 'You haven't told them, then?'
'Told them what?'
'That we're no longer in a shared marmalade situation…'
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this brilliant novel from Madeleine St John, author of The Women in Black, is a comic and tender look at the vicissitudes of love and relationships. Nicola should never have stepped out to buy that pack of cigarettes, because the man she discovers in her living room when she returns is not the adorable, straightforward, devoted Jonathan with whom she has been sharing her life. That Jonathan would never have unilaterally decided that she should, as he abruptly put it, 'move out'. A shocked Nicola packs her bags and sets out bravely on the bumpy course that will take her from the end of an affair to the essence of the thing.
This edition of The Essence of the Thing comes with an introduction by Helen Trinca, Madeleine St John's biographer.
About the Author
Madeleine St John was born in Sydney in 1941. Her father, Edward, was a barrister and Liberal politician. Her mother, Sylvette, committed suicide in 1954, when Madeleine was twelve. Sylvette's death, Madeleine later said, 'obviously changed everything'. St John studied Arts at Sydney University, where her contemporaries included Bruce Beresford, Germaine Greer, Clive James and Robert Hughes. In 1965 she married Chris Tillam, a fellow student, and they moved to the United States where they first attended Stanford and later Cambridge. From Cambridge, St John relocated to London in 1968. The couple did not reunite and the marriage ended. St John settled in Notting Hill. She worked at a series of odd jobs, and then, in 1993, published her first novel, The Women in Black, the only book she set in Australia. When her third novel, The Essence of the Thing (1997), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, she became the first Australian woman to receive this honour. St John died in 2006.
'Brisk, sophisticated and artful.' New York Times Book Review 'St John's intelligence transforms a simple story into a much larger commentary on love and loss.' Mademoiselle 'Using spare prose, sparkling dialogue and painfully true observations on family life, St John creates a winning combination of humour and pathos.' Publishers Weekly
Series: Text Classics
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 26th June 2013
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.1
Weight (kg): 20.1