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Book of The Week

July 8, 2015

Why We Love it:

Evocative and heartbreaking, The Other Side of the World kept us spellbound. It’s a beautifully told story of motherhood, marriage, creativity, identity, and nostalgia for place. Its vivid and gorgeous descriptions transported us from the wintry fields of Cambridge, to the intense light of a Perth summer and to the mud, dust and chaos of 1960s India.

 English-born Charlotte is struggling with motherhood and trying to find time for her painting. Her Indian-born, poetry-professor husband wants things to be as they were and dreads the thought of another harsh English winter. As the distance between Charlotte and Henry grows, he grasps at the promise offered by a brochure proclaiming ‘Australia brings out the best in you’. Charlotte doesn’t want to leave her familiar home, but is too exhausted to fight, and gives in.

But their new life is not the answer either was hoping for, as Henry is increasingly isolated among his parochial university colleagues and Charlotte finds herself lost and anchorless in the Perth suburbs. What will she sacrifice to regain her feeling of ‘home’?

 Stephanie Bishop is a rising literary star, with critics singing her praises. In 2006 she was recognised as one of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian novelists, and Helen Garner has described her as ‘a striking new voice, calm and fresh.’

Geordie Williamson, The Australian’s Chief Literary Critic, says ‘the story of Charlotte and Henry – the melancholy beauty of its prose and the sharpness of its insights into nostalgia and belonging – has stayed with me for weeks now.’

 With its deep themes and emotionally charged ending, The Other Side of the World is a book to curl up and spend time with, and book clubs and reading groups will love it.

Reviewed by the team at Better Reading.

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Read Felicity Plunkett’s review of The Other Side of the World in The Australian Newspaper here.


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