Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most beloved performers, tells her story.
In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.
Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.
John Purcell's review
Pretend you have never heard the name Magda Szubanski. I know it's difficult. You're probably already picturing her as Sharon Strzelecki in Kath and Kim, or as Esme Hoggett in Babe, or as Pixie-Anne Wheatley or Chenille from Fast Forward.
But do try. Reckoning isn't a celebrity memoir. Magda's story is rich, beautifully told and moving. The daughter of Polish and Scottish migrants, it's a thoroughly Australian story. Like Raimond Gaita's Romulus, My Father, Madga's memoir centres on her relationship with her father. The thing is, the man who was Magda's father, the man who mowed the lawn, joined the local tennis club, wore shorts and long socks, wasn't your regular suburbanite.
He was an assassin.
You know, the usual story.
A migrant's daughter's memoir, Reckoning is at once light and dark, the way we ourselves are light and dark. It is the work of a writer whose own family's story led her further and further into a past that was complex and strange, dangerous and surprising, and of her own story which led her out into the spotlight.
Caroline Baum's review
This is the perfect companion to Richard Glover's Flesh Wounds in that both books present you with a totally different understanding of someone that you may have come to know through their public life, both using humour to heal the scars of family trauma.
In Richard's case, his mother is the problem while in Magda's, it is her father's terrible past during WW2. Both reveal themselves to be fine writers capable of great honesty, sensitivity and insight but free of self-pity. That requires courage, which Szubanksi has proved in her acting career over and over and in the way she handled her coming out. I hope a festival puts these two in conversation together. How delicious would that be?
About the Author
Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s best known and most loved performers. She began her career in university revues, then appeared in a number of sketch comedy shows before creating the iconic character of Sharon Strzelecki in ABC-TV’s Kath and Kim. She has also acted in films (Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, The Golden Compass) and stage shows. Reckoning is her first book.