One family. Nine momentous days. An unforgettable novel of love and folly and heartbreak.
It is 1939 and although Australia is about to go to war, it doesn’t quite realise yet that the situation is serious. Deep in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Richmond it is business—your own and everyone else’s—as usual. And young Kip Westaway, failed scholar and stablehand, is living the most important day of his life.
Kip’s momentous day is one of nine that will set the course for each member of the Westaway clan in the years that follow. Kip’s mother, his brother Francis and, eventually, Kip’s wife Annabel and their daughters and grandson: all find their own turning points, their triumphs and catastrophes, in days to come.
But at the heart of all their stories is Kip, and at the centre of Kip’s fifteen-year-old heart is his adored sister Connie. They hold the threads that will weave a family.
In Nine Days Toni Jordan has harnessed all the spiky wit, compassion and lust for life that drew readers in droves to Addition and Fall Girl. Ambitious in scope and structure, triumphantly realised, this is a novel about one family and every family. It is about dreams and fights and sacrifices. And finally, of course, it is—as it must be—about love.
In this interview with the Sydney Morning Herald Toni reveals her inspiration for this gorgeous novel.
‘Simply a joy to read.’
‘Toni Jordan has written a beautiful novel which captures the loves and fears of an ordinary Australian family through hard times and better times. It reminded me of Elizabeth Stead’s books.’
‘Jordan is clear that what binds us to one another and to a meaningful life is simply valuing the life you have been given and the family that is yours and yours alone. Reading Nine Days, you will laugh, even cry, but you will be in no doubt that Toni Jordan uses the modern novel to reflect those tensions that exist for many of us between duty and desire.’
‘A brilliant piece of writing…compelling, engaging and will bring tears to the eyes…’
‘Toni Jordan’s characters beautifully frame a story of compassion, fun and poignancy.’
‘Every now and then a book comes along that’s brilliantly conceived and tightly written, yet there’s nothing flashy about it. I think Australian writer Toni Jordan’s third novel, Nine Days, falls into the rare and wonderful category…Each of the nine voices is distinct and brimming with personality and by the finish every part of the jigsaw fits perfectly and you see the whole sweep of this romantic, thoughtful, heartbreaking story…Jordan’s previous novels, Addition and Fall Girl, were smart sassy and humourous. Nine Days has taken her to another level. More serious than her previous work but with the same astute observations, brightness and wit, its a sensitive and beautiful novel, a slice of Australia’s working-class history, that is a joy to read.’ NZ Herald on Sunday
‘This novel is a triumph. Another signal career in Australian fiction is well under way.’
‘Jordan’s triumph is in the structure and scope of this novel set in working-class Richmond, starting and ending indeed in 1939 but spreading out an ensuing 70 years to solve a mystery and build a love story.’
‘The suspense is frequently nail-biting, and there’s a strong undertow of unspecified doom, but the book is far from gloomy because Jordan has a fine line in wit too, not to mention the natural storyteller’s ability to keep us guessing about where it’s all going…beautifully constructed…’
‘Spanning World War II to 9/11, Australian novelist Jordan delivers a witty and wise family saga…A small treasure, from the author of the wonderful romantic comedy Addition (2009).’ starred review
‘Jordan elegantly captures the hopes and despairs of three generations of a troubled family, offering a diverting read that will appeal to fans of sophisticated historical fiction and book club members.’