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Do not believe too quickly…
What if Elizabeth Macarthur—wife of the notorious John Macarthur, wool baron in early Sydney—had written a shockingly frank secret memoir?
In her introduction Kate Grenville tells, tongue firmly in cheek, of discovering a long-hidden box containing that memoir. What follows is a playful dance of possibilities between the real and the invented.
Grenville’s Elizabeth Macarthur is a passionate woman managing her complicated life—marriage to a ruthless bully, the impulses of her own heart, the search for power in a society that gave her none—with spirit, cunning and sly wit.
Her memoir reveals the dark underbelly of the polite world of Jane Austen. It explodes the stereotype of the women of the past: devoted and docile, accepting of their narrow choices. That was their public face—here’s what one of them really thought.
At the centre of this book is one of the most toxic issues of our times: the seductive appeal of false stories. Beneath the surface of Elizabeth Macarthur’s life and the violent colonial world she navigated are secrets and lies with the dangerous power to shape reality.
A Room Made of Leaves is the internationally acclaimed author Kate Grenville’s first novel in almost a decade. It is historical fiction turned inside out, a stunning sleight of hand that gives the past the piercing immediacy of the present.
‘There is no doubt Grenville is one of our greatest writers‘
‘One of the most entertaining, accomplished, engaging novels written in this country…We always knew Kate Grenville was good but this one is brilliant.’
‘Grenville’s extraordinary trilogy is a major achievement in Australian literature.’