Friday 26 April 2019

✪ After She Left ✪ Penelope Hanley ✪

Published 1st May 2019
Impact Press, an imprint of Ventura Press

Three women. Three generations. One city.

When Irish artist Deirdre Wild emigrates from the remote Blasket Islands to Sydney’s The Rocks in the 1930s, she makes an indelible mark on conservative society with her surrealist art and bohemian ways. Just after the Second World War, Deirdre leaves for Europe to be with her lover – leaving behind her estranged daughter and a family secret.

Years later, Deirdre’s granddaughter Keira is determined to discover the secret and her mother, Maureen, clinging to her own fears of the past and a desire to change her future, fights to stop her.

When the three women’s lives intersect amidst the emerging women’s liberation movement and political tension in 1970s Sydney, what price will be paid for the deceptions of the past?

Copy received from Ventura/Impact Press for an honest review

I adore the colours on the cover of this book - they stand out among the books on the shelf.

I am conflicted with this review.  There are things that I liked, and there are things that I disliked.

I liked seeing my home city of  Sydney through the decades (I particularly like it through the 70s, though in the time line it all happened a couple of years before I was born).

I liked the changing political climates throughout the decades, and seeing the seeds of change planted and come to fruition.

However, I didn't like any of our 3 leading ladies.  I found them all selfish, and man the apple did not fall far from the tree with any of them.

Most of the time I found myself yelling at my book, telling people to run far, far away from them all.

And I hated that I felt that way - however this could just be me.

I liked the writing, the imagery and their stories - just not the women!

This was my first Penelope Hanley read, but it won't be my last.

Penelope worked two decades as an editor and is now a freelance writer. Her other publications include a novel and twenty short stories, as well as books commisioned: Creative Lives: Personal Papers of Australian Artist and Writers (NLA, 2009) and Inspiring Australians: The First Fifty years of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (ASP, 2015). She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra and a BA (Hons) in English Literature from the Australian National University. She currently lives and works in Canberra.