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Painted Clay

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  9 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
"Other people might grow old and faded with a monotonous life, but not she. In her heart she cherished a dream that the gods held something wonderful in store for her."

Helen Somerset feels stifled by her loveless home with a repressive father who fears that, like her absent mother, she may be only 'painted clay'. She wants to know life beyond the confined of Packington, a
Published by Virago (first published 1917)
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Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
I learned that that Capel Boake was Australian, a poet and the author of four novels, and that this, her first novel, drew on her own experiences as a shop-girl and an officer-worker in Melbourne, in the years leading up to the Great War.

And I learned that the title was taken from a poem:

“Shall we weep for our idols of painted clay,
Salt dews of sorrow the sere blooms wetting?
Gods of the desert of dreadful day,
Give us the gift of a great forgetting.”
(Marie Pitt)

Helen Somerset had a lonely chil
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Set in Melbourne Australia in the years before the First World War Painted Clay is the story of a young girl growing to maturity and finding her way in the world in which she lives. It portrays brilliantly the bustle of city life, with its differing sections of society. The author – Capel Boake was the pseudonym for the little known author and poet Doris Boake Kerr(1899-1945).
Helen Somerset is just sixteen as the novel opens. She lives with her father in a nice suburb of Melbourne in a house tha
Capel Boake had a distinguished writing heritage. She was the
niece of poet Barcroft Boake and although her output was small
(4 books) she was one of the few novelists of her time to vividly
re-create suburban Melbourne in the early 1900s. The story may
be autobiographical in parts - most of the book is based on
Capel Boake's experience as a shop girl and typist. It tells of
Helen Forrester who is living in dullness and misery with her
father who's bitterness and moods have long since driven the
Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm reading Australian women writers 1920s-30s for research. This book has some fascinating detail of everyday domestic life just before WW1 and shows a shift in attitude to female sexuality, but is not particularly memorably written.
Jo Rye
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Buried In Print
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