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“Why didn't you and Daddy want people to give you any wedding presents?” I used to ask. But my mother could never be drawn into talking about the wedding. Later, I assumed it was because she did not wish to be reminded of the ghastly mistake she had made in marrying my father.
Born in Australia in 1949, author Nadia Wheatley grew up with a sense of the mystery of her parents’ marriage. Caught in the crossfire between an independent woman and a controlling man, the child became a player in the deadly game. Was she her mother’s daughter, or her father’s creature?After her mother’s death, the ten-year-old began writing down the stories her mother had told her—of a Cinderella-like childhood, followed by an escape into a career as an army nurse in Palestine and Greece, and as an aid-worker in the refugee camps of post-war Germany. Some fifty years later, the finished memoir is not only a loving tribute but an investigation of the bewildering processes of memory itself.
‘An important addition to the history of Australian social life and a vivid insight into how individual people can be controlled by repressive social attitudes. Wheatley reminds us of the difference between how family life is supposed to be and how it is actually experienced.’
‘One of the greatest Australian biographies…a work which never confuses itself with fiction but which has the same readability and flair and command of tempo. It’s a hell of a story.’
‘Outstanding…a rare feat in Australian literary biography.’