‘I know I’ve just arrived, Juliett e,’ Rosie said, yawning. ‘To another age, it seems, as well as another place.’
‘In Lucknow, you must take care,’ Juliett e said earnestly. ‘Gossip spreads faster than a virus, it’s more
invisible than hepati ti s. It just fl oats around and somewhere decisions are made about you, your
reputati on is decided. It might not be the truth but it is what will pass as the truth.
‘You will be stuck with it. And, and,’ Juliett e said, warming to her point, ‘it will be very hard once your
reputati on is fi xed to change it. It will sti ck with you no matt er what you do. If people fi nd that you vary
from your reputati on then they will fi nd it curious, but they won’t disbelieve the gossip.’
Rosie thought about what Juliett e was saying. ‘If people can’t disti nguish the truth from gossip then why
is their opinion of any value?’
‘They only know what they hear,’ Juliett e said. ‘You need to take care.’
The smooth grey rocks were hot beneath their bodies. Rosie felt sweat beginning to trickle and the water
looked inviti ngly cool.
‘I’m going in,’ she told Juliett e. ‘Race you.’
As warm and brown as a bott le of beer in the shallows, the water was chilly and fi zzy as champagne at
waist height. Rosie dived under and came up ti ngling with shock at how cold it was.
— excerpt from Lucknow
Where do you go when your marriage ends suddenly, and the enti re architecture of your life
collapses? For young mother Rosie, it was to Lucknow, a town in Central Victoria where her sister
lived and her grandparents used to have a farm. And how do you make a good future from a bad
event? Well, that’s not so easy. But Lucknow proves to be the right place for a number
Heartbreak, comedy, tragedy, farce, romance, secrets, even love. Annie Hall lifts the lid on the way things are in this Australian country town with the beguiling name of Lucknow. -- Carmel Bird