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Blue Skies

3.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  35 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A young wife and mother watches a clock that seems forever stuck at three-in-the-afternoon. Her neighbour obsesses over the front lawn, and the women at the local beach chatter about knitting patterns. Her husband didn’t come home last night.

She lives for Tuesdays and Thursdays, when the baby is with Mother-in-law and she can escape to a less humdrum life. Jonathan, man ab
Paperback, Third Edition, 176 pages
Published February 28th 2011 by Text Publishing (first published 1976)
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Dec 29, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Jenny (ANZLL)
Shelves: australia, c20th
First published in 1976 round about the time I was enjoying being a young mother myself, Blue Skies tells the story of a young mother marooned in Tasmanian suburbia. I think that if I had read the novel back then, when post-natal depression wasn’t much acknowledged or understood outside psychiatric circles, I wouldn’t have known what to make of it. Rather naïve about the lives of others at that time in my life, and with a preference for British classics, I don’t think I would have understood its ...more
Jan Hemphill
Dec 12, 2013 Jan Hemphill rated it really liked it
This delightful novel was first published in 1976. I read it in almost one sitting and it was a joy. I am not like the main character, the narrator, and I have not lived in Tasmania, but each phrase of sun-dried description or moody self-questioning of the new mother, evokes in me a recognition, like seeing an old friend lost over the years. Just a name e.g. Olive, or Gloria, seems to be able to conjure up in me a full picture of that person. The mother-in-law, with a few careful words, is so ma ...more
Mar 02, 2011 Marianne rated it it was amazing
Blue Skies is Helen Hodgman’s debut novel, written in 1976. This edition includes an insightful introduction by Danielle Wood. The setting is 1970’s Tasmanian suburbia. The story is narrated by a young wife and mother who finds herself unable to muster any enthusiasm for the life she and her neighbours are leading. She avoids the daily gathering of mothers and children at the beach by hiding in her home. Her only respite from the despair in her life and the oppression she feels from the relentle ...more
Ben Eldridge
Mar 01, 2014 Ben Eldridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A fascinating and darkly humorous novella, dealing with depression and despair through the motif of a pathologised suburbia. It's a brilliant little self-contained narrative, and whilst I wasn't hugely enamoured with the closure of the surreal ambiguity towards the end, this is a remarkably accomplished debut work. It's too short a work for me to really go into any details without ruining it, but the narrator is extraordinarily well-conceived, and her passivity and avoidance of judgement contrib ...more
Oct 01, 2013 David rated it liked it
Shelves: australian
What a curious book this 1976 debut novel set in Tasmania is. Its unusual, slightly surreal and blackly comic portrait of a woman suffering from postnatal depression in suburbia, where every hour of every day feels like three o'clock in the afternoon is brilliantly done, and the subtle critique on colonialism that Hodgman weaves throughout gives it an added dimension and a real sense of unease. But because the narrator is depressed and so passive most of the time it makes it very hard for the re ...more
Dec 23, 2015 Ellemir rated it it was ok
The setting and story sounded interesting but I was not able to get into the story. The characters remained either flat or were unappealing. I couldn't identify with any of them or even understand them.
The writing style was good though. I will try another book by this author later.
Maybe the wrong book at the wrong time. Or a book which is too far away from my life and my experiences.

Jane Routley
Aug 12, 2013 Jane Routley rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary
A joy to read says The Times review on the cover. Well I didn't find it so. It was easy to read. The writing style is fabulous. but just another story blackly comic I suppose about horrible people doing grim things in the desert of suburbia (a too easy target) Not for me

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Kris McCracken
Sep 30, 2013 Kris McCracken rated it it was ok
I'm sure that this is the first novel that I've ever read that is set in Hobart. Thus, it's a real shame that it didn't like it at all. A vacuous and annoying narrator and ludicrous conclusion has a tendency to do that I guess...
Aug 27, 2011 Leanne rated it really liked it
Great book - a story that had many complex layers to it but was still somehow a very light & easy read.
Sep 25, 2011 Janet rated it really liked it
A surprising, often uncomfortable story of suburban isolation.
Dec 10, 2011 Tania rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books, ebook
Ahhh my first ebook!!!! It is book #125 for the year
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