Abandoned by her feckless husband during the Depression, Amy decides to leave her country town—and her three infant children—and try her luck in the big smoke.
Life in wartime Sydney is far from easy, but for Amy there are the hard-won satisfactions of an office job and a house of her own. Until her eldest, Kathleen, appears needing a home while she attends high school. And Amy falls in love with a married man...
Enlivened with note-perfect observations of the everyday, wrenching in its portrayal of a young woman struggling to succeed yet often wilfully ignorant of her own children, Olga Masters' second and last novel is a triumph. At its centre is Amy, one of the great characters in Australian literature.
This edition comes with an introduction by the novelist Eva Hornung.
About the Author
Olga Masters was born in Pambula, on the far south coast of New South Wales, in 1919. Her first job, at seventeen, was at a local newspaper, where the editor encouraged her writing. She married at twenty-one and had seven children, working part-time as a journalist for papers such as the Sydney Morning Herald, leaving her little opportunity to develop her interest in writing fiction until she was in her fifties. In the 1970s Masters wrote a radio play and a stage play, and between 1977 and 1981 she won a series of prizes for her short stories. Her debut collection, The Home Girls, won a National Book Council Award in 1983. It was followed by a novel, Loving Daughters, which was highly commended for the same award. Her next books, the linked stories A Long Time Dying and the novel Amy's Children, met with critical acclaim. This brief but highly prolific period ended when Masters died, following a short illness, in 1986. She had been at work on The Rose Fancier, a posthumously published collection of stories. Reporting Home, a selection of Masters' extensive journalism, was published in 1990. A street in Canberra bears her name.
'A beautiful little book, written with great gentleness and warmth.' * Courier Mail *
'Olga Masters writes with freshness and brimming exuberance, and yet control over her material is absolute...Amy's Children is a polished, moving story, one that touches the very roots of being and feeling without the barest hint of cliche.' -- John Carroll * Age *
'Amy's Children offers a delightfully wicked view of female values and culture.' * Bulletin *
'In Amy's Children Masters has changed her background from rural to urban without changing her essential territory-the intense and private lives of women and girls.' * Adelaide Advertiser *
'Masters' best work...[It] captures in photorealist detail the peeling facades of the inner city during the years when the Depression was supplanted by war...What makes this quiet novel so remarkable? Partly it is the language, as regular and minutely exact as Amy's aunt's hand-sewn buttonholes. But the real magic lies in the way such words are deployed...The sense of loss that pervades this final work is palpable.' -- Geordie Williamson
'Polished, subtle and sustained. A classic Australian novel.' -- Eva Hornung
'The women whose small lives are chronicles here might be described as protofeminists...each is absorbed in making her own way in the world. Masters' orchestration of this theme is superb.'
* Kirkus Reviews *