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At the very end of the Ladies' Frocks Departments, past Cocktail Frocks, there was something very special, something quite, quite wonderful; but it wasn't for everybody: that was the point. Because there, at the very end, there was a lovely arch, on which was written in curly letters Model Gowns.
In the famous F.G. Goode department store, Lisa is the new Sales Assistant (Temporary) in Ladies' Cocktail Frocks. She is about to meet Magda, the glamorous Continental refugee and guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns.
About the Author
Madeleine St John was born in Sydney. She graduated from Sydney University in 1963 and lived in London for most of the succeeding years, until her death in 2006. The Women in Black is her first novel. She also wrote A Pure Clear Light, 1996, The Essence of the Thing, 1997, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and Stairway to Paradise, 1999.
I was left wondering what was the point of this story. My only conclusion is that some of the characters settled for where their lives had led them, and others had the courage to move forward.
A quirky read
It's very Australian and shows it's age but it is funny and quirky and brings back many memories of those department days gone by the wayside. It was enjoyable to read and the characters were likeable. It was predictable but a good book to fill in the time.
Life as a woman in the 60s
Fantastic book really enjoyed it.
Sherwood, Qld, Australia
Short and engaging read
This book was extremely easy to read and the characters were well described , the book had lots joyful events and interactions with characters
A Must Read. Found it engrossing and didn't want to put down
An easy fast fun read
South Breach Western Australia
Women in Black receives due recognition.
This book has been turned into a wonderful musical called Ladies in Black. It is set in David Jones many years after the time it was set. Your review structure does not allow room for personal expression.
Missed the mark
I bought this because it is being produce as a play. I was disappointed by the shallowness and stereotyping of the storyline of what could have been a wonderful story about women set in the mid century.
Parts rang true but the rest was exaggerated in a silly way.
I bought it because a successful (to judge from the reviews) musical has been made from it. While it's scarcely a page-turner, I found myself eager to follow the characters. They, and the setting, are finely observed and wryly described. The author was a contemporary of James, Greer and Hughes at the University of Sydney and like them lived in London for a long time, never having their success but enjoying some solid achievements among which I count this book.
A Simple Classic
The focus is on characterisation and the reader is easily able to feel attachment to them and I was sorry to come to the end of the book.
The Women in Black
'Funny, affectionate, moving and written with a light, comic touch.' -- Monica McInerney * Australian Women's Weekly * `A delicious book. Funny and happy, it's like the breath of youth again.' * Jane Gardam * `Seductive, hilarious, brilliantly observed, this novel shimmers with wit and tenderness.' * Helen Garner * 'A major minor masterpiece, a witty and poignant snapshot of Sydney the year before yesterday.' * Barry Humphries * 'St. John casts an airy spell with the deftness of her prose, which moves gracefully, swiftly and with perfect manners.' -- Delia Falconer * Australian * `This glorious, witty snapshot of Australia in the 1950s...it really is a gem in the rough....This is no nostalgia piece for a lost way of life, but a clever, funny argument for why things had to change.' * Sunday Times * `Wickedly humorous yet tender...Full of old fashioned elegance and witty humour. I loved every page.' * Style Magazine *
ISBN: 9781921922299 ISBN-10: 192192229X Series: Text Classics Audience:
Number Of Pages: 256 Published: 26th April 2012 Publisher: Text Publishing Co Country of Publication: AU Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 12.9
Weight (kg): 0.19
Edition Number: 1