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The Other Side of the World

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,885 ratings  ·  322 reviews
In the tradition of Rachel Cusk's A Life's Work or Maggie O'Farrell's The Hand That First Held Mine comes a complex, tender and gorgeously written novel of parenthood, love and marriage that is impossible to put down.

Cambridge 1963. Charlotte struggles to reconnect with the woman she was before children, and to find the time and energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, cannot
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by Hachette Australia
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Leith Rosemary She leaves her family going 'out into the street' because she cannot sacrifice herself to this oppression despite her love for her chn. The
last few p…more
She leaves her family going 'out into the street' because she cannot sacrifice herself to this oppression despite her love for her chn. The
last few pages suggest her conflict is still present and Henry will 'never have the chance to ask again' why she left, something she realises he will never understand.

The presents are pushed down and ' buried" deep in her pockets, symbolising what she will do with her love for her chn.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Julie Hi Robyn, I don't know either and it's killing me - see my answer to Adriana...…moreHi Robyn, I don't know either and it's killing me - see my answer to Adriana...(less)

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Average rating 3.25  · 
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Diane S ☔
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This is going to be a tough one. If I based me review solely on the prose, which was exceptional, or on the descriptions of life in England, Australia, and India, it would be a definite four. However, the story itself did not bowl me away. Charlotte, was not a likable character which isn't in and of itself a problem, but I could never figure out of I was supposed to feel sorry for her or understand her difficulties with post partum depression, her problems with relocating family to another conti ...more
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019, own-read
Charlotte is finding it difficult to do the things she once enjoyed before she had children, her husband, Henry is struggling with having to face another winter in England. When he comes across a leaflet in the letter-box, he decides this could be just what he and his family need. Going to Australia was going to be a big move, but one which Henry thought would be good for the whole family. Escaping those dreadfully cold winters and creating a fresh start for a warmer place like Perth could only ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely beautiful, profound and painful.

Both characters affected me – Henry (He wonders what it would be like to belong somewhere and never doubt it. To not be constantly pestered by the knowledge of your own foreignness); Charlotte (I thought I had come home…But home is never the same once you have left it for any length of time and come back. Home is a secret world that closes its door in your absence and never lets you back in).

Here I am gushing about a book from the migrant point of vie
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Stephanie Bishop's novel, The Other Side of the World, is garnering much praise amongst critics and readers alike.

Exploring the themes of home, longing, identity and love Bishop presents the story of a Charlotte, a wife and new mother who reluctantly agrees to emigrate from England with her husband, Henry, a British Indian, in search of a fresh start in the sunny promise of Australia.

I admired Bishop's poetic descriptions of both the physical and emotional landscape experienced by her characters
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This book had quite a profound effect on me. It’s the story of a married couple, Charlotte and Henry, who are living in England in the 1960’s. Charlotte is an artist, but when she begins to have children, she goes through a depressed period and has difficulty painting or dealing with life as a mother and wife. Henry, having been born in India and who has never liked English weather, decides that it would help their family to move to Australia and start a new life there. Charlotte has no desire a ...more
Inspired by the true story of Bishop’s grandparents’ move from England to Australia, this is a somber but compassionate account of one family’s dreams and mistakes. Bishop assuredly evokes Henry and Charlotte’s feelings of displacement and a failure to belong. As an expatriate, I could sympathize with these characters’ feelings of being unsettled. A new place doesn’t solve everything, the novel seems to be saying; after all, you take yourself and your relationship issues with you wherever you go ...more
Whilst I completely understand the praise this book has been receiving, it just didn't grab me as I had hoped it would.

The prose is beautiful and absorbing - the words create an unquestionable atmosphere that transports the reader, and I've no doubt that anyone who is/has been married and/or has children will feel a profound connection to the detailed intricacies. The driving theme of 'Home' will resonate with anyone who's lived more than one place, particularly those of a more mature age with a
Dale Harcombe
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Two and a half stars
This story set in the 1960s, starts in England. It tells the story of Charlotte who never wants to leave England and Henry, her Indian born husband, who wants to leave England which has been his home since a child. He wants to move to Australia. Anyone who has ever been homesick for another country or place, should be able to relate to some of Charlotte’s feelings. Added to the conflict over the move to Perth, Charlotte is struggling with being a mother. These days, Charlotte
I’m torn as to how to review this book. What I’m not torn on is my general dislike for it, despite it being lauded as the current ‘must read’.

The book is about Charlotte and Henry. They’re married with one child, with Charlotte just finding out she’s pregnant with number two at the beginning of the novel. I think it’s pretty obvious right from the start that Charlotte is suffering from postpartum depression, but as the book is set in the 60s, no one is going to do anything about it.

Henry blame
David Reviews
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I completely adored this beautifully written story. It was utterly spellbinding and I just revelled the delicious descriptive writing that just seemed to transport me to those places described on the pages. This is not a book full of great action, but rather it meanders along spilling heartfelt emotions and delivering beautifully drawn images and scenes.

Charlotte is a young married mother in Cambridge, exhausted and struggling to cope with motherhood. Her husband Henry, who was born in India, fe
Karys McEwen
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Forgive me, but I may have just found a *new* best book of the year. I say that too often, but The Other Side of the World got me really worked up. I actually ended up rereading the last quarter of the book immediately after finishing, because it was just so haunting and beautiful and distressing, and I NEVER do that. Five stars, everyone should read immediately.

The story follows young mother Charlotte, and her family’s move from Cambridge to Perth in the early 1960s. Exploring themes such as mo
John Purcell
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
 I absolutely loved The Other Side of the World. It reminded me of the writing of Rosamond Lehmann and of Elizabeth Bowen.

Psychologically accurate, moving, brave and honest, withThe Other Side of the World author Stephanie Bishop peers unflinchingly into the abyss that can form in the very heart of a marriage, in the soul of a mother. This is a beautiful, sad, revealing novel, something I hadn't realised I had been yearning for in my reading.

If you love to read while listening to music, the perf
May 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
I did not finish "The Other Side of the World". I wanted to like this book, being partly set in Perth, around the Uni, where I'd lived. Yet, I didn't. It explores, in vivid detail a young women's life, around domesticity, mother hood and her relationship with her husband. But man, not enough happens!! Pages of descriptions of pushing a pram around the park, the sunlight on the trees, the heat, the cold, blah, blah.... One reviewer said the ending pulled a punch so maybe, I should have persevered ...more
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian, reviewed
Charlotte has just given birth to her first child and it has changed her world completely, leaving her absent-minded and distracted. Her husband, Henry, blames the cold misery of their home in England and uproots his family to move them to Western Australia with it's hot, dry heat. But despite superficial improvements to his life, Charlotte is still struggling. Things reach a head when Henry returns to his birthplace of India, leaving Charlotte alone with their two young children.

This is a stran
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘One day I will wake up and I will be there, she says to herself, over and over.’

This novel, set in the 1960s, tells the story of Charlotte and Henry, a young English couple who emigrate to Australia. They have two young daughters, May and Lucie, and like so many other emigrants, they are searching for a better life. Henry, who was born in India, is sure that Australia will be a better place for his family. Charlotte, overwhelmed and exhausted by motherhood, has agreed to emigrate, but is reluct
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
3* The Other Side of the World, Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop’s story of migration was originally published as, Dream England, a more layered and subtle title than, The Other Side of the World. Why was this changed? In fact, all through the novel, the sense of another hand at play suggests too much intrusion of things that don’t fit. Given the great list of those she thanks, it only adds to the feeling that she has been mislead by well meaning ‘others’ into writing a story that is not hers.
Michael Livingston
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A precise, beautiful and sad book about motherhood, nostalgia, homesickness, race and love. Wonderfully written and achingly sad, this will surely be on the Stella Prize shortlist next year.
Renita D'Silva
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Beautiful evocative prose. But I could not warm to Charlotte nor sympathize with her and that detracted greatly from my enjoyment of the book.
Madhulika Liddle
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
England, in the early 1960s. Anglo-Indian Henry Blackwood, sent off to England as a boy but never able to get used to its chill dampness, is a poet, a professor—and married to a painter, Charlotte, born and bred in England, with England coursing through her veins. Henry is aware of just how deeply attached to England his wife is, but when Charlotte begins to unravel after the birth of their daughter Lucie—followed, not long after, by her again getting pregnant—the stress starts building.

Their h
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read this very quickly, not because it was gripping and held my attention, but because it's a short relatively easy read.

Set in the 1960's, the story revolves around Charlotte, her husband Henry, and their two small children. Charlotte doesn't seem to recognise the fact that she is suffering from post-natal depression, as she struggles to cope in a tiny cottage in rural Cambridge. Henry cannot bear the thought of enduring another English winter in the cold, damp cottage and so when leaflet ar
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: c21st, australia, 15review
From the blurb for this second novel from Sydney writer Stephanie Bishop, I had thought I might identify with the protagonists, a Cambridge couple who migrate to Australia in the 1960s. But no, while this is an absorbing meditation on belonging, nostalgia, and motherhood, I found the central character Charlotte to be, as my mother would say, a bit of a misery and weak and selfish into the bargain. I might be selfish sometimes, as we all are, but this character’s way of dealing with her own unhap ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I was looking forward to reading this book, as it had received a fair amount of advanced praise. Unfortunately it did not live up to expectations despite being a very well crafted storyline.
The author uses beautiful prose throughout, but failed to connect me to the characters and their emotional turmoil sufficiently, whichever made it a frustrating rather than an enjoyable read. There is lots to praise in terms of historical accuracy and the theme was an interesting one - emigration viewed from
Izzy Rizzo
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Look, a 2 Star is probably a bit harsh but a 3 star is kinda too much ?? So it’s 2.5

I’m gonna start off this amazing review by saying ; this was not AT ALL written for my age group , if the author wanted us to identify with it at least ... so a lot of these opinions are based around that slight predicament. I’m gonna write this with all my random 1 am agro thoughts so I can use it for study later HA HA HA .

What did I think ??? I extremely extremely disliked it . :/ . Every
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of those books that made my heart lurch about my chest, for many reasons. Not least is that it's the sort of book that sends fear through a blogger's head. Pure fear. The fear that as someone who is not a writer, but an avid reader and book lover, and a person who wants to shout about the books that I have loved, that I won't be able to find any words to describe the story.

Crikey this one is good. It's one of those 'hair stands up on the back of your neck' affairs. It's slow and
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it
It is cases like this that make me want to drop the star rating. There is no question that this is an exquisitely written novel. However, there was far too much meditation on landscape and gestures than on the internal worlds of the characters, and a disjuncture between the time spent describing the act of walking to the front yard, versus, how the couple negotiates something complex, time switches that felt so abrupt after pages of meandering prose about something beautiful yet ordinary?

I coul
Sally Hamilton
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-shelf
Full review here:

'The brilliance of Bishop’s writing lies in the strong sense of place she creates through beautiful prose depicting the different climates and landscapes in Cambridge, Perth and India. The sensory detail included is enough to make you yearn for a duvet in the depths of an English winter or want to throw yourself in a deep, clear river to escape the intense dry heat of Australia. Bishop’s descriptions of setting give the story a measured t
Rosemary Atwell
Apr 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the type of book that I like to read, where language and plot are interwoven into a rich sequence that carries the reader along. Stephanie Bishop's novel is as much a meditation on the effects of migration as it is about one's sense of place.
This gentle novel inspires a mood of melancholy. As the first group choice for my book club this year, it provoked a mixed reaction and many thought that the long meditative passages that dominated the novel slowed down the plot and were too much of
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful novel is set in the 60s in England. Charlotte, young mother with a very fussy new baby just finds out that she is pregnant again. She is already having trouble coping with her first child and being pregnant again causes even more depression. Her husband Henry, an Indian, is fed up with life in England and decides that moving to Australia and a better climate will solve all of the family problems. Problems can't be left behind and things get even worse with their lives in Australia ...more
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A hundred pages in and I was rather disillusioned with both the prose (yet another tale of melancholic Australian stillness) and, unusually, an over population of semi colons homing in the text.

Two hundred pages in and both issues had dissipated. The melancholic stillness turned into mesmerizing wrongness and complexity (whilst the semi colons fell to disuse). I judged Charlotte harshly for her choices - and then my not so inner feminist judged my knee jerk reactions even harsher, and the pictur
Eva • All Books Considered
Review originally posted at All Books Considered: DNF

This was a classic case of "It's not you, it's me." The beginning of this was so depressing (there was a lot of damp and cold and madness and babies getting sick and just everyday misery and drudgery being trapped in a tiny house caring for children) that I didn't want to continue. Perhaps this ended up being really amazing and lovely but the tone the author set did not compel to want to read more. I literally had to read something happy a
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Stephanie's first novel was The Singing, for which she was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists. The Singing was also highly commended for the Kathleen Mitchell Award. Her second novel, The Other Side of the World is published by Hachette Australia, Tinder Press (Headline, UK), Atria (Simon & Schuster, US) and Fleuve Editions (France). It was named Literary Fict ...more

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