Introduction by David Malouf
Ever since his early manhood, since his marriage, he had bought women; most had been bargains and most had made delivery at once. He never paid in advance: ‘I got no time for futures in women’.
New York, on the cusp of World War II. Robert Grant, a middle-aged businessman, lives life by his own rules. His chief hobbies are moneymaking and seduction; he is always on the hunt for the next woman to beguile and betray. That is, until he meets his match: Barbara, the ‘blondine’, a woman he cannot best.
A sardonic commentary on sexual relations and war as potent as when it was first published in 1948, A Little Tea, a Little Chat holds up a mirror to the corruption and cravenness of our late-capitalist moment.
Read David Malouf’s introduction published at the Australian.
‘[Christina Stead] is really marvellous.’
‘Stead is of that category of fiction writer who restores to us the entire world, in its infinite complexity and inexorable bitterness, and never asks if the reader wishes to be so furiously enlightened and instructed, but takes it for granted that this is the function of fiction.’
‘I cannot see how anyone can deny Miss Stead’s position as the most extraordinary woman novelist produced by the English-speaking race since Virginia Woolf.’
‘A sprawling character study…Callous, comical, loathsome, and tiresome, Grant also, as the David Malouf introduction notes, can sometimes stir sympathy thanks to Stead’s artistry.’