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Not long into this book, I had to break off and do a bit of research to try and find out what the point of it was, for it seemed to be little more than a rambling rant by the central character Nellie Cotter. My research told me that in fact that indeed is more or less the whole book, a shapeless, interminable monologue by an extremely unpleasant and manipulative woman, who has an adolescent fixation on her brother and enjoys exercising power over all who come into her orbit. From London’s East E...more
I'm glad that I don't live in Cotter's England. What a nightmarish place! Cruelty, deception and manipulation abound. After 250 pages of 350 I had to skim as I was being bludgeoned by the same verbal weapons over and over, page after page. Stead kept up her barrage till the bitter end with the two protagonists in the next to last paragraph smiling triumphantly for photographic posterity and only the reader left to mourn their victims.
Christina Stead (1902–1983) was an Australian writer regarded as one of the twentieth century’s master novelists. Stead spent most of her writing life in Europe and the United States, and her varied residences acted as the settings for a number of her novels. She is best known for The Man Who Loved Children (1940), which was praised by author Jonathan Franzen as a “crazy, gorgeous family novel” an...moreMore about Christina Stead...