The Momentum Blog
Posted July 17, 2012 by Anne
“This is such an endearing and funny book. Ever been stung to death by a queen bee boss at work? You’ll love this humorous fantasy tale which culminates in glorious revenge.
The protagonist, Liz Smith, is satisfyingly true-to-life, as a middle-aged woman with no family whose life has centred around her job. She is suddenly ‘let go’ and throughout the book ponders the meaning of her middle-aged, disconnected new self.
The magical element of the story centres around a second-hand mirror, which is prone to populating its sometimes-visible internal world with captured people. Liz is seduced by its charms at first but, along with her adopted house-mates, comes to realise just how dangerous it can be.
She experiments with a bit of romance, with cooking, with interior decorating, and with nurturing younger folk who flagrantly take advantage of her. All the time she is reinventing herself, exploring who she might become, while relishing her new-found freedom.
There are lots of Lizs about, and although they may not have magic mirrors, they will recognise themselves here, laugh a lot, and rejoice. And so will all their friends and acquaintances. Read, learn and inwardly digest–and giggle.”Tagged: ebooks, feminism, fiction, horror, reading, review, speculative fiction
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Posted July 16, 2012 by Anne
“Literary theorists argue that the feminist novel centres on the concerns of, and the bonds between, women. The category “feminist novel” takes into account the plurality of womanhood, including differences of class, race, ethnicity, geography, sexuality, age and able-bodiedness (Felski, Fraser & Nicholson, Kaplan, Robbins). Challenging literary and social conventions with humour and irony, Christine Townend’s first novel and appropriately The Beginning of Everything and the End of Everything Else can be read as a feminist novel as it recounts the tale of a naïve young woman’s passage through marriage, childbirth, homemaking and leave-taking.
The protagonist Persia marries to escape a dominating mother. Settling into comfortable middle-class suburbia, Persia gives birth to a son, but realises that her life is still controlled by others. In a search for self-discovery she leaves home and goes to live in a different socio-economic situation in Redfern. The novel represents an example of the feminist protagonist who moves “outward into the public realm of social engagement and activity…” (Felski). With its novella-like form, its unusual language, its defiant plot and its parodying of social situations, the narrative fearlessly debunks literary and cultural conservatism. New writing like Townend’s opened a space for feminist fiction published in the later 1970s and 1980s.”
An extract from a paper presented by Adrienne Sallay. More info here.Tagged: Australian, ebooks, feminism, fiction, history, literature, writing
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Posted July 3, 2012 by Gillian Polack
Some people can type “Hi, my name is…” and the words are seen as challenging stereotypes and bringing justice to the world. Me, it doesn’t matter what my past is or how I apply it in my fiction or in my teaching, everyone remembers me as the person who gives chocolate. Until I wrote my second novel, when people started saying “You write horror, don’t you?”
I write a novel that challenges assumptions about middle-aged women and it’s not seen as the feminist (slightly amusing) story I penned, but as horror. Humorous horror (with food and clothes), but scary. I know people who refuse to eat chocolate at my place for fear of the Mirror.
The fact that the mirror is not the same as the one in the book is irrelevant. My lovely antique mirror inspired the one in the book and therefore it might suck their souls and then where would the chocolate be?
Let me explain that mirror… no, let me not explain it. Honestly. It was meant to drive fear into the souls of innocents. So was the Beehive. They’re the sort of things that scare middle-aged females, you see (evil mirrors and bosses from hell). And it turns out that they scare other people, too.
“Horror latte,” its first editor called it, once.
I told her “It’s a feminist diatribe! And it’s funny. Very funny. Suburban fantasy. With art galleries and food. Canberra as it ought to be seen.”
She said “You can call it whatever you like: that mirror is creepy.”
“Middle-aged heroine,” I said. “Breaking stereotypes. Challenging assumptions.”
“I wouldn’t have that mirror in my lounge room,” she retorted, far too quickly. “I wouldn’t even have it in my house. I would take a blowtorch to it.”
“If the book sells a million copies as a horror, I’ll give you the mirror,” I declared.
I’m not sure she heard my declaration. She was munching on chocolate. People often do this in my presence. I reason that it’s because I’m terrifying. Short round people who carry chocolate are always terrifying.
“Because it’s not a horror. I don’t write horror novels. Or romances. I write speculative fiction. Besides, I like the mirror.”
“It ate your soul, years ago,” was her response. “That’s why you’re a feminist.”
“Why do people have such a strange concept of feminism?”
“Why do you write creepy mirrors? Have you got any more of that chocolate?”
And this is how I came to be known as a horror novelist, when the real me is an overweight historian who thinks she’s writing happy stories for the home.chocolate, feminism, horror, writing