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I was still not permitted to decline those tennis parties. ‘You must not close off your options,’ Father said, and tweaked at one of the unflattering frills on my dress.
In her much-loved debut novel, Kate Grenville took inspiration from the legendary Sydney eccentric Bea Miles to fashion the fictional life of Lilian Singer: from irrepressible girlhood in a cruel middle-class family, under a monstrous father, to independence and, later, old age as a Shakespeare-quoting bag lady, living on the streets and descending cheerfully into madness. Bold and exuberant, richly imaginative and intimate, Lilian’s Story won the 1984 Australian/Vogel Literary Award and was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece.
‘Dazzling fiction of universal appeal.’
‘Very moving and sometimes funny…Evocative and poetic.’
‘A work of considerable beauty and power…An uncompromising vision…told with honesty and virtuosity.’
‘A mesmerising tale of persecution, suffering perseverance, and strength of character. Lil is stupendous and unforgettable.’
‘One of the great Australian novels…Luminous…A triumph.’