Emmy Simpson believes she makes her own luck. After an austere wartime childhood in London, she joyfully grasped at her first sign of good fortune and left for Australia. Her sister Virginia doesn't believe in luck at all. She made no more than a brief foray to the other side of the city. The sisters made their choices, made steady worlds for ...
Emmy Simpson believes she makes her own luck. After an austere wartime childhood in London, she joyfully grasped at her first sign of good fortune and left for Australia. Her sister Virginia doesn't believe in luck at all. She made no more than a brief foray to the other side of the city. The sisters made their choices, made steady worlds for themselves. But now, middle-aged, they find these worlds disintegrating. 'In its rich detail and its humour, this is a wry, uplifting book' Independent on Sunday 'Messud writes beautiful cadenced prose, and proceeds, sentence by sentence, image by image, character by character, to create a fully realized, multi-layered world ...[she] has the imagination, the craft and the understanding of human nature to write about anything she chooses' Chicago Tribune 'This is a fine first novel, and the "first" is deceptive, for its author has the daring and assurance to take on Iris Murdoch-like questions about goodness and truth' New Yorker
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-06-12 Two estranged sisters, their worlds turned upside-down, pursue separate quests for identity on exotic islands before being reunited in Messud's wonderfully observant debut novel. Emmy Simpson left London in 1960 at age 20 to marry a dashing Australian publisher. Twenty-seven years later, divorced (dumped by her husband for her friend) and at odds with her rebellious daughter Portia, a sculptor, she exits Sydney for the Indonesian isle of Bali. There, her credo that we create our destiny is sorely tested as she falls in with a group of exiles, misfits, long-haired idealists and eager young women dominated by a sleazy transplanted Australian antiques smuggler. Meanwhile, Emmy's prim, evangelical sister Virginia, who lives in London and cares for their invalid, eccentric, death-obsessed mother, is ordered to take a leave of absence by her married bossæon whom she has a mad crush. Her faith wavering, Virginia joins her mother on a trip to the isle of Skye in the Hebrides, accompanied by Nikhil Gupta, an Indian student, searching for his runaway sister, who eloped with a Scot. Shuttling among Sydney, London, Bali and Skye, the American-born Messud, who lives in London, weaves a beautiful, bittersweet story about the painful cost of self-knowledge and the unpredictability of life. (Sept.)
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