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The Last Days of the National Costume - Anne Kennedy

The Last Days of the National Costume

Paperback

Published: 1st July 2013
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Published: 26th June 2013
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Narrated by one of the funniest, wisest literary observers of all time this is a brilliant, charming and heartwarming novel about illicit love, sewing, blackouts and Belfast.

In a minute she'd beg me to do anything I could to save the garment. That's what they always did. Begged and pleaded. There was usually a lover involved, and a cheated-upon spouse. I, as the mender, would be saving their life. People had actually said I was worth my weight in gold . . .

But it wasn't my skill the clients were grateful for. No. It was my collusion. What lies are worth: their weight in gold.


You'd think that mending clothes would be an uneventful, uncomplicated occupation. No drama, no unnecessary explanations, no personal involvement. But people love to talk, and as they make their excuses to GoGo Sligo, of Megan Sligo Mending and Alterations, they reveal the holes in their stories as well. It doesn't take long for GoGo to get to the truth behind the rips and tears they've brought her to fix.

As GoGo listens and sews, she realises she is also helping her clients cheat and lie to their husbands and wives. She's covering their tracks so they won't be found out.

A five-week blackout brings the city to its knees, and a drama to her doorstep. A lover, a wife, and finally the cheating husband all come to claim a vintage Irish costume that GoGo's been mending. She doesn't want to like the guilty husband, but can't resist being drawn into the enticing web of his deceit, and then into his story of heartbreak and death on the streets of Belfast.

To keep him coming back to the blacked-out house and to prolong the telling of his family's story, GoGo pretends the costume isn't finished. As she makes him return to her, day after day, it becomes clear that another kind of spell is being woven, and GoGo must face the truth about herself and her own life and marriage.

An intoxicating, entrancing, gripping novel of illicit love, passion and embroidery, told in an inimitable voice by a brilliant writer.

Read Caroline Baum's Review:

As Australians, we know too little about contemporary writing from New Zealand. It’s our loss. So it’s a pleasure to discover this refreshingly original new voice from across the Tasman. Megan Sligo is an eccentric mender of garments. She can repair any tear. When a power outage darkens her home town of Auckland, her work is thrown into disarray. And when a woman brings a torn gorgeous beaded dress to her, things get complicated. It seems that several people want the dress… What makes this so captivating is the narrator’s voice: warm yet sly, playful, (she makes jokes about post modern poets) and eccentric. There’s a lot going on here, stitched into the narrative like hidden seams and concealed pockets, but above all this idiosyncratic debut is a contemporary reminder that storytelling is the most timeless seduction of all.

About the Author

Anne Kennedy's first novel was an experimental work titled 100 Traditional Smiles (1988). She then went on to write Musica Ficta (1993) and A Boy and His Uncle (1998). Her most recent work was to write the screenplay for The Monkey's Mask, a highly successful film based on Dorothy Porter's verse novel. Anne is also a well known and award winning poet. She lives in Auckland and has also lived in Ireland and Hawaii.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
The Last Days of the National Costume
 
3.3

(based on 3 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to read (3)
  • Engaging characters (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

      Reviewed by 3 customers

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      4.0

      A Weird Tale

      By Aussie Reader

      from Geelong, AU

      About Me Everyday Reader

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Read
      • Engaging characters
      • Quirky

      Cons

      • Not What I Expected

      Best Uses

      • Gift
      • Travel Reading

      Comments about The Last Days of the National Costume:

      Somewhat weird tale set during Auckland's major power blackout, about a mender of clothes who turns an heirloom Irish dancing costume into a prolonged personal saga. Some knowledge of inner Auckland helpful in appreciating the setting of the drama.

      Comment on this review

       
      3.0

      last days of the national costume

      By booksrme

      from Balranald, NSW

      About Me Bookworm

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Cleverly "woven"
      • Easy To Read
      • Engaging characters

      Cons

      • Contains Swearing
      • Not What I Expected

      Best Uses

      • Older Readers
      • Theatrelovers

      Comments about The Last Days of the National Costume:

      I loved this story. Author has "stitched" the characters and their stories together with her own as she works.
      Don't see the need for colloquial idiom to include four-letter words, but overall I was rapt in THAT DRESS.

      Comment on this review

       
      3.0

      Picked up more than a thread!

      By Chemo Bookworm

      from Gippsland, Australia

      About Me Everyday Reader

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Read
      • Engaging characters
      • Intriguing Concept

      Cons

      • Colloquialisms Foreign

      Best Uses

      • For Discerning Readers
      • Gift
      • Older Readers

      Comments about The Last Days of the National Costume:

      A novel for those interested in variety of story lines. This one is quirky and amazingly imaginative

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      ISBN: 9781743313862
      ISBN-10: 1743313861
      Audience: General
      Format: Paperback
      Language: English
      Number Of Pages: 400
      Published: 1st July 2013
      Publisher: Allen & Unwin
      Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3  x 2.6
      Weight (kg): 0.52