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Reckoning : A Memoir - Magda Szubanski

Paperback

Published: 1st August 2016
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  • Hardcover View Product Published: 23rd September 2015
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2016 ABIA (Australian Book Industry Awards) Book of the Year Winner
2016 ABIA (Australian Book Industry Awards) Biography of the Year Winner
2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction Winner

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.

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Reckoning
 
4.4

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

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    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to read (7)
  • Well written (7)
  • Engaging characters (5)
  • Deserves multiple readings (4)
  • Informative (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Casual reader (3)

Reviewed by 8 customers

Displaying reviews 1-8

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3.0

Engaging prose

By 

from Victoria, Aus

About Me Everyday Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Well Written

Cons

  • A little depressing

Best Uses

  • Older Readers

Comments about Reckoning:

Enjoyed Magda's writing style and it is always interesting to read about somebody who is different to yourself. Could understand her angst about her sexuality, but became a little tired of her "guilt" about her fathers life during the war.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing book heart wrenching Magda laid her soul bare.

By 

from Melbourne

About Me Casual Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Easy To Read
  • Engaging characters
  • Informative
  • Page-Turner
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift
    • Special Needs

    Comments about Reckoning:

    Amazing

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    A great read!

    By 

    from Melbourne

    About Me Casual Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Deserves Multiple Readings
    • Easy To Read
    • Engaging characters
    • Informative
    • Page-Turner
    • Well Written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Gift

      Comments about Reckoning:

      One of the best books I've read in a long time!

       
      5.0

      Really worth the read.have already reccomended to others

      By 

      from Walgett NSW Australia

      About Me Bookworm

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Deserves Multiple Readings
      • Easy To Read
      • Engaging characters
      • Informative
      • Page-Turner
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift

        Comments about Reckoning:

        Gift to friends and family

         
        5.0

        Reckoning

        By 

        from Central West Australia

        About Me Rarely Read

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Read

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift

          Comments about Reckoning:

          I just need more time to digest this book.

           
          3.0

          This comedy icon can write!

          By 

          from Australia

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Read
          • Engaging characters
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift
            • Travel Reading

            Comments about Reckoning:

            Recommended

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            I love Magda

            By 

            from Australia

            About Me Casual Reader

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Deserves Multiple Readings
            • Easy To Read
            • Engaging characters
            • Informative
            • Page-Turner
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Gift
              • Older Readers
              • Reference
              • Travel Reading
              • Younger Readers

              Comments about Reckoning:

              Great book, well written and inspiring

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              A great book to read

              By 

              from Melbourne

              About Me Bookworm

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Easy To Read
              • Well Written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Gift

                Comments about Reckoning:

                Coming from a European background and growing in Australia...this book took me back to my childhood. An easy book to read. Highly recommended

                Displaying reviews 1-8

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                `This is an inspiring memoir of a woman who faced her demons, sought treatment for depression and overcame disappointments. She is loved and admired by thousands but, more importantly, she exudes power - the power of being herself.' * Good Reading * `It is impossible not to be moved...Let's hope Szubanski writes more. She shines just as brightly as a serious writer as she does as a comedian.' * Guardian, Best Australian Books of 2015 * `It is so refreshing to read an autobiography by a skilful character actor who is also in her own, non-stereotypical way, a role model for your average Aussie...The book will endure, just as Szubanski herself has.' * Same Same * `[Szubanski] captures wonderfully well the strange dissonance of history.' * Sophie Cunningham, Australian, Best Books of 2015 * `A moving and grave account of how a great comedian plumbed the enigma of her father's activities as a Polish wartime resistance hero.' * Peter Craven, Australian, Best Books of 2015 * `Magda Szubanski blew us away with her writing chops in this remarkable, fearless and deeply personal memoir.' * Booktopia, Books of the Year 2015 * `Magda Szubanski's brave, compassionate - and hilarious - Reckoning may be some sort of masterpiece of the form.' * Australian, Best Books of 2015 * `A fascinating memoir from the much-loved comedian...One of our favourites.' * InDaily * 'Reckoning is a beautiful and moving story of a serious, thoughtful and complex person.' * Paul Barclay, Radio National Books and Arts, Best Books of 2015 * `Do not, repeat, do not underestimate comedian Magda Szubanski's Reckoning...A powerful piece of writing.' * Courier Mail * `We all knew she was funny, but who knew she could write like this?' * Benjamin Law, Age/Sydney Morning Herald * `I also adored Magda Szubanski's memoir, Reckoning. She has great stories to draw on but it is her very fine writing that makes it such a joy to read.' * Christos Tsiolkas, Age Sydney Morning Herald, Best Books of 2015 * `Compelling author, compelling premise, compelling writing.' * Graeme Simsion, Age/Sydney Morning Herald, Best Books of 2015 * `Far more than a run-of-the-mill celebrity memoir, this is a beautifully written, heartfelt and illuminating family saga.' * New Daily * `Magda's memoir is a moving exploration of her relationship with her Polish Resistance hero father...Reckoning is a quest and, in a sad but satisfying way, Magda does find what she's seeking.' * Australian Women's Weekly * `Reckoning isn't simply a collection of anecdotes, though - it is so much more. Sharp, beautiful, a must-read.' * Canberra Weekly * [Reckoning] untangles intergenerational trauma with intelligence and insight...[Szubanski] declares herself as a sensitive intellectual who is cursed, or blessed, depending on your point of view, with the fervent desire to understand.' * Newtown Review of Books * `[Reckoning is] a page-turner...The quality of a memoir depends on how interesting a life the person writing it has had and Szubanski doesn't appear to do dull. She is articulate and likeable as she tries to reconcile herself with the many difficult aspects of her past.' * New Zealand Herald * `[Reckoning] reveals [Magda] to be an extraordinarily rare talent - somebody with first-rate emotional and comedic instincts as well as a fierce intellect which would allow her to succeed in any academic task she'd set herself...This is a book which will be good for the soul of anybody who reads it.' * Daily Review * `Nearly every memoir is described as "brave" these days but Szubanski has earned the word...The result of her efforts is an affecting story of family intimacy - soulfully and sensitively told.' * Saturday Paper * `Sensitive and searching, colourful and vividly composed...stylish and accomplished.' * Sydney Morning Herald * `With its hints of nostalgia, raw honesty, compassion, and a good amount of bravery, Szubanski's Reckoning reflects on the truths we hide and the realities we cannot ignore as we develop into and through our adult lives.' * Conversation * `Reckoning is a powerful, exquisitely written account of Szubanski's loves and "lives" thus far.' * West Australian * `Unlike most autobiographies by famous people, Reckoning has substance beyond the writer's fame...Szubanski's fine memoir, written with great style, adds another layer to our history - another startling migrant story.' * Crikey * 'Reckoning is a riveting, overwhelmingly poignant autobiography by a woman of genius...It is an extraordinary hymn to the tragic heroism at the heart of ordinary life and the soaring moral scrutiny of womankind. Every library should have it, every school should teach it.' * Weekend Australian * `This is a remarkable memoir, that weaves the tragedy of twentieth century history into a personal narrative of coming to terms with family and self, and manages to honour both stories. The writing is assured and controlled, the storytelling expert and thoughtful, the language eloquent and moving. The writing, the story, the voice-all of it is beautiful.' * Christos Tsiolkas * `A brave and tender book about everything that matters most in life.' * Cate Blanchett *

                ISBN: 9781925355413
                ISBN-10: 1925355411
                Audience: General
                Format: Paperback
                Language: English
                Number Of Pages: 384
                Published: 1st August 2016
                Publisher: Text Publishing Co
                Country of Publication: AU
                Dimensions (cm): 23.2 x 19.0  x 2.9
                Weight (kg): 0.52