Shielded from emotional and physical abuse by layers of fat, Lilian struggles to escape a suffocating existence in the home of her tyrannical Victorian father and her elegant but ineffectual mother. Madness, cruelty and sexuality permeate the family's upper-crust Australian world. Lilian Una Singer starts life at the beginning of the twentieth ...
Shielded from emotional and physical abuse by layers of fat, Lilian struggles to escape a suffocating existence in the home of her tyrannical Victorian father and her elegant but ineffectual mother. Madness, cruelty and sexuality permeate the family's upper-crust Australian world. Lilian Una Singer starts life at the beginning of the twentieth century as the daughter of a prosperous middle-class Australian family. She ends it as a cheerfully eccentric bag-lady living on the streets, quoting Shakespeare. This book traces the progress of her life's journey, and why she made the choices she did. She's a person large in spirit as well as body, who wants to invent her own story, rather than allow it to be invented for her. Life presents her with many obstacles including the sinister advances of her father - but in spite of this she succeeds. Triumphantly, she makes her life her own, savouring every moment with the reminder that 'everything matters'.
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Publishers Weekly, 1987-10-02 Narrator Lilian grows up in a troubled household (her mother is afflicted by vapors and her pseudo-intellectual father tries to force himself on her sexually). ``Lilian's story often has the quality of a dream recounted while the dreamer is half asleep, which alone is a remarkable achievement,'' PW found. (November) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1987-06-13 Lilian begins her book with her own birth and almost manages to conclude it from beyond the grave, but only occasionally exacts from the reader genuine interest in her affairs. In fact, she is a fat, lonely child who becomes a fat, eccentric (though, she insists, brilliant) woman. Her mother is afflicted by vapors, her father by pseudo-intellectuality and her younger brother by the shyness common to boys who wear glasses. Since it is hinted early on that Father's proclivities are not wholly cerebral, his incestuous attack upon Lilian is not a shock, but his subsequent insults and vituperations, culminating in his having her committed, seem without foundation. Although he accuses her of behaving like a whore, Lilian remains a virgin throughout and indeed, once out of the asylum, lives chastely with a drunken cabdriver until he dies. This award-winning first novel by Australian writer Grenville promises more than it delivers. Lilian's story, however, often has the quality of a dream recounted while the dreamer is half asleep. This alone is a remarkable achievement. (August 4) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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