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Indelible Ink

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  623 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
A novel about connections in a changing world of friends, lovers, family, illness, and death, this unique narrative tells the story of Marie King-a 59-year-old divorcée from Sydney's affluent north shore. Having devoted her rather conventional life to looking after her husband and three children, Marie is experiencing an identity crisis. Forced to sell the family home now ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Scribe Publications Party Limited (first published May 31st 2010)
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Bree T
Marie King is a 59 year old divorced woman living in a good sized home on a good sized block in Mosman. Marie acquired the house outright in the settlement when her husband left her but she’s having trouble maintaining it. She fell pregnant in University, promptly dropped out and became stay at home mother for most of her life, until her children were grown and left the family home. She has no income now and is beginning to drown in debt. Living on a credit card with a fifty thousand dollar limi ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘For the first time in years, the children were all at Sirius Cove for their mother’s birthday.’

Set in Sydney, shifting between Mosman and Surry Hills, this is the story of a segment of Marie King’s life. Marie, aged 59 and divorced, is unsatisfied with aspects of her life. Sure, she lives in a beautiful home in Mosman, and appears to have led a relatively privileged life. But somewhere along the way, Marie seems to have lost her sense of self. Increasingly, she is aware that she can no longer s
Jun 18, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia, c21st, 10review
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2010 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like tragedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine Bongers
I took a long time to get into this book. It's very Sydney, none of the characters are particularly likeable, and it's hard to feel sympathy for someone living in a six million dollar property on the water at Mossman who drunkenly runs up $50,000 on credit cards instead of getting a job. It's testament to McGregor's skills as a writer that I kept reading and ended up glad that I did. I don't really understand the obsession with tattoos, but I did understand why Marie, the book's 59 year old divo ...more
Aug 05, 2012 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, interesting, but also serving up a mix of rather unlikeable characters, this book did have me hooked pretty quickly. I found myself liking Marie but not her children, not even Leon. They were all so materialistic and self-centered.
Marie's ex and her friends were also just a bunch of rich creeps but this does change towards the end.
The evocative passages about the garden and tattooing were the highlights for me. Both come across as catharsis for big gaps in Marie that her life certa
Gail Hunter
Feb 09, 2013 Gail Hunter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am an absolute fan of this book. I've recommended it to lots of people and have had varied reactions. It's very Sydney-centric, most of the characters are not particularly sympathetic and the conclusion is inevitable but I was absolutely hooked. I learnt about the art and industry of tattooing and finally understood what makes people embrace body art. I loved McGregor's rich writing, I felt like I knew a lot of the characters and I felt their dilemmas deeply. I felt this was a compassionate bo ...more
Aug 30, 2010 Raylea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It would be dishonest of me to review this book, considering I only made it one third through. If you liked "the slap" you might like this, but that's only a might. This book had a similar array of unsympathetic unlikeable characters, with not enough body in the story to get or keep me interested. The main character is a pathetic indecisive drunk - a late 50's separated mother of an assortment of children, who suddenly decides to start tattooing herself. She lives in beautiful affluent Mossman, ...more
Karen Butler
Mar 04, 2012 Karen Butler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Could not bear the characters. I had more sympathy for the cat, Mopoke, than any of the human beings in this story. Pretentious, self indulgent rubbish. Could not wade my way through to the end.
Feb 27, 2017 Pauline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I have read this book and I enjoyed it even more. At times raw and confronting, it would kick me in the gut, at others it wrapped me in a warm blanket. I laughed and I cried.
Lisa Vaccaro
Jun 26, 2010 Lisa Vaccaro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Change is certainly a theme in the narration of this tale - love, loss, illness, physical transformations... and similarly my feelings towards it have changed, as it unfolds it layers.
On many levels I can't relate to the characters - while the places are familiar, the people are not anything like the people I choose to surround myself with. But underlying the distain for most of the characters, is the revelation that maybe they are not so unlike who I think I am - they hurt, suffer, feel pain f
J.E.R. Prince
Jan 22, 2012 J.E.R. Prince rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the layers of this novel.
The imagery, the locality, the issues and people all worked well to create a snapshot of contemporary Sydney. Sometimes reading a novel is an escape, but sometimes it is more like an unexpected insight into a part of yourself - and that's what I got from this novel - a way of reflecting on my 10 years living in Sydney and grappling with the class, property, harbour, wealth, beauty and meanness of the place.

I would recommend this book widely, but expect that yo
Aug 04, 2016 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much more complex and raw and mean than I'd expected. Very much recommended for women over 40, and probably anyone else. This review from Lisa Hill is more eloquent than I could hope to be
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judith Yeabsley
Dec 15, 2011 Judith Yeabsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Quirky, shocking in places and very down to earth. It follows a very rich Grandmother who after her divorce decides to get a tattoo when drunk. Really enjoyed the characters, the surprises and the way it was written. Will read more of hers.
May 23, 2012 Cameron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Frustrating. Good premise, but full of annoying characters and a plot that doesn't really go anywhere until the last third, when it heads into a rather regrettable direction.
This is a great book. Compelling, well-written, honest appraisal of humanity in all its contemptible glory. Well worth reading.
Jun 14, 2012 Polly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beaches-bookclub
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 12, 2017 Vivien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book number 1 for my Book Club 2017.
June, our long term member who passed away earlier this year had suggested this book last year as a good suggestion for our 2017 reading list.
Great read and so sad in many parts.
Set in Sydney, huge family interrelationship issues and so many contemporary - really reflective of today's society - friends and adult children!!

No winners although Marie is a different woman, more in control or achieved what she wanted / planned at the end to where she started in
I enjoyed the characters and the familiarity of the Sydney setting. Unusual story with the upper class lower north shore family and the mums departure from that lifestyle. Very good exploration of life with terminal illness too. But I really disliked the use of the C word within the body of the text. No issue with any swearing as part of dialogue but unnecessary otherwise. And I'm a swearing trooper!
Nov 21, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cleverly written book. However, I decided to abandon it before finishing. There was not one likeable character. By the time I had become party to the private thoughts and undesirable motives of all the characters, I felt so despondent about the unpleasantness of human nature that I decided not to continue.
Cass Moriarty
Jul 20, 2016 Cass Moriarty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sydney author Fiona McGregor's novel Indelible Ink is a complex and multi-layered work that focuses on several different themes. One of these is the city of Sydney itself - most of the story is set in the affluent north shore, where mansions with harbour views and established gardens sell for millions of dollars, but the narrative also takes us to bawdy music and dance clubs, the night-time gay subculture of the city's parks, and the slightly menacing and criminal element of motorbike gangs and ...more
I discovered this book only because I saw someone had chosen it for their June Literary Challenge and it sounded interesting. It was, I liked it, and I'm glad I joined the challenge to find a new (to me) author.

It all rang true to me - the setting, the people, the language, and the relationships - old, new, fractured, mending. McGregor's an easy writer to read. She doesn't rely on two-dollar words to impress, as someone once referred to those annoying one
Mark Stewart
This book falls into my least favourite genre of "unpleasant people being unpleasant." Normally if I want to watch people I couldn't care less about make a complete hash of their lives and then moan about the thoroughly deserved consequences I'll go to work, but if you like to spend your spare time with emotional car wrecks with the sympathetic qualities of a broken bottle, then maybe this book is for you.

Well, perhaps that's a touch harsh. Some years ago after being scarred the "award winning"
Mar 18, 2014 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
I nearly gave up on this book several times but I persevered in the hope it would get better. It didn't! My main issue was that I simply didn't relate to any of the characters and none of them were likeable. A newly divorced woman (Marie) living in the 'old money' area of Mosman, suddenly finds the urge to tattoo herself as a way of exploring her life and her role. One one hand her desire for tattoing is to be controversial, to flaunt it in the face of the upper class 'ladies'. But Marie is havi ...more
Voir See
Nov 26, 2016 Voir See rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-book-club
Tedious at the start as the characters and story evolved, it didn't seem to be going anywhere. Well past the middle and by the end, the authors talented writing, apart from too many big thesaurus words, had grasped attention to be appreciated and the development of the characters evolved to provided a study of the real life reality and challenges of our modern and prestigious Australian society where structure and cultural expectations are not all that they seem. A comment on life and loss, drea ...more
Nov 10, 2011 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2013
Disappointing...a bit trashy - sorry to say this as I like to support Australian authors but this book just didn't seem genuine. I am sorry but how many wealthy women have a complete change in life events and tattoo their whole body? If McGregor was trying to sell this story to us it just wasn't convincing. The connection between the tattoos and this woman were never fully explored to a plausible phase. It's a shame because there are paragraphs were McGregor really writes beautifully and really ...more
Jun 02, 2010 Dee-Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can not decide what to rate this book, I have waivered between 1 star to 5 stars throughout the process.

The language, the detail and the characters are not pretty. I read things that I really did not want to know about. The was nothing warm and fuzzy about it. It is a good book if you are interested in gardneing and plants ... there was a lot of references to plants around Sydney as two of the main characters were avid gardeners.

The one character which I liked, was Rhys, the tatoo artist, but
Feb 04, 2012 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Book club
Shelves: bookclub-n-a
Story captured me from the beginning and I wanted to know what was going to happen.
The character that I most enjoyed was Rhys ( tattoo artist ) but you didn't get to know much about her. Crossing my fingers that another book will follow about her life. Also loved the cat.
Book was written very similar to The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, which Fiona mentioned in the acknowledgements. Indelible Ink was told from the points of view of Marie and her family and they question the way they live, their exp
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Fiona McGregor is a Sydney author and performance artist. She writes novels, essays, short stories and critiques, and is a regular reviewer of performance for RealTime. Since 1993, she has published 5 books.
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“Funny how being decrepit, diseased and sentenced to death gave you so much power. She couldn’t go to Morocco nor even drive herself into town. She could hardly move off the couch. But she could say whatever she wanted: she had bitch licence.” 0 likes
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