Monday, 26 February 2018

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

"I was highly delighted with his action, as I would have despised him as a booby had he given in to me, but I did not let my satisfaction appear."

I am well aware that this is a much loved Australian classic that has been around for an age. For some reason it took me an age to finish it. I began reading it in October of last year and got side tracked by numerous other tomes. At first there were some things that really put me off. Perhaps one of the more worrying aspects was that this novel, first published in 1901, included vocabulary that would count as racial slurs these days and has at its heart the central premise that a woman is an outsider if she foregoes the typical marriage trap, is an intellectual and pursues her dream of becoming a writer. Her treatment by her family, apart from her Grandmother, as being an unattractive, weirdo without a husband, sadly reminds me of my own circumstances these days - my mother will never be made happy. Perhaps I'm feeling a little wounded in that regard. Most assuredly, I'm disheartened that those sentiments can still smart today, much as being mistaken for a secretary the other day by some narrow-minded moronic men because surely that must be my role as a female - I digress - rant over.

Eventually, I settled in with the novel and was swayed by its charms,enjoying its vision of another time and feeling happy that I will never be placed as a governess with a horrific family due to my father's gambling debts - thankfully my father doesn't indulge in gambling!
This is less of a love story and more of the kind of sexless banter that occurs when tinder dates go wrong and end up absolutely nowhere. I realise I'm not really selling this.

Jennifer Byrne ( I love her), writes in her introduction to the novel of the "Despair of the Household" and I think one thing this book really does brilliantly capture is the sense of being trapped by domesticity and having one's choices narrowed by inequality, particularly having little dominion over finances. I need someone else to read this and share their thoughts - Nicki I'm sending it south to you.

5 out of 5 - I know I sound like I hated it... I just found it troubling.




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