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The Red Shoe

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  410 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Funny, tough-minded and tender, this is the story of Matilda and her two sisters growing up in Sydney in the 1950s at the time of the Petrov Affair. Punctuated by the headlines of the time, it shows with unsettling clarity how the large events of the world can impinge on ordinary lives.
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Published 2006 by Louis Braille Audio
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Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I feel like we in America are now so accustomed to a shiny, glossy, corporate edited McMansion of a novel with a tight plot and rip roaring action, that we can't appreciate anything unusual. We can't find the patience to sit with something entirely new that whispers instead of roars.

The Red Shoe is unusual, and I found it incredibly stirring. Yes, like other reviewers have said, definitely subtle, like an E.M. Forster novel. Forster was the master of subtlety. The Red Shoe reminds me
Oct 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Maybe people who don't mind reading a pointless story
I can't quite put my finger on what I disliked so much about this book. Probably a combination of a reader reading far too fast, nothing really happening until the end of CD 3 (almost the end of the book) and just being really, really boring. If this YA book is supposed to make young people read and get interested in Australian history, then I don't know...

It just seemed like a string of not very exciting, random events... "Today Mathilda's family went to the movies, the next day they went to th
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
I can't believe that it takes me so long to getting to read some authors. Ursula Dubosarsky is a great discovery, and I am looking forward to reading more of her books. The Red Shoe is a clever exploration of an Australian childhood in the 1950s- 3 sisters growing up on the edge of Sydney- a story to show how the large events of the world can impact on ordinary lives. Beautifully written.

The story is told through the alternating point of view of three sisters: Matilda (6), Frances (11) and Elizabeth (15). The events of a mysterious neighbor "who looks like a spy" (according to Matilda) are recounted alongside flashbacks and hardships dealing with their father, a veteran of World War II, who suffers from post-traumatic stress and often leaves his family for lengths of time. The girls, who often experience related feelings of isolation and misunderstanding, live in a rundown home ...more
I'm having a hard time putting my finger on a plot in this book. The setting is Australia post World War II and throughout the text are actual news headlines and stories about the events of the time. The newspaper clippings interested me and was why I read the book in the first place. The sad thing is, and maybe it's because I'm not Australian, but they actually added very little to the story for me. They were interesting in their own right, but almost distracting from the story.

You get a sense
Gemma Wiseman
The scattered debris of post war worlds is all here. The headlines of the day cut into the home lives. Disturbingly, perspectives of home mirror the crises on larger scales. This is not a novel based on a traditional, linear narrative sequence. It is like mini memoirs co-existing spiced with flashbacks; mainly the memoirs of children growing up in a world they barely understand. The effect is mesmerising; a sense of sadness grappling with the right to find some kind of happiness - with a little ...more
Ashleigh Mathes
I finished this book earlier today and I'm still not fully sure as of what it is actually about. It's a good piece of writing, but I found it a struggle to lose myself in this book. And I still can't make sense of the plot.
I really wanted to like it and it started out really good, but it left me feeling disappointed in the end.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. I think the narration is really clever - you mostly see the story through the POV of the youngest sister, Matilda, but the occasional glimpses of perspective from other characters was elegantly done. I thought it might be an 'each chapter the perspective changes' story, but the perspective changes were more clever than that and Matilda remained the focus.

I've read some reviews here criticising the book for not having a story or plot. I did not find this a problem. The thing is
Rogue Wilson
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful coming of age story from Ursula Dubosarsky. A short novel at only 181 pages, she manages to delicately weave a tale that kept me on tender hooks from the first chapter...strangely the retelling of a grim Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. A mesmerizing story told from the perspective of the three central characters - 15, 11 and 6 year old sisters. The intertwining of real clippings from the Sydney Morning Herald from April 1954 it worked well and the story came together perfec ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very subtle and interesting story about three girls and their dysfunctional family. It is set during the time of the Petrov affair, when communist spies were receiving a lot of media focus. The father is a war veteran and tries to hang himself. I really loved the character of Matilda; she is curious and imaginative. Although I enjoyed this book I don't know that it would appeal to students. As I said, it is very subtle.
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Ursula Dubosarsky is an award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults. About The Golden Day, her first book with Candlewick Press, she says, "The little girls watch, wonder, respond, change, and grow — and then their childhood is gone, forever. This element of the story, I suppose, is at least partly autobiographical. But, as I say — all of our teachers come home safe and so ...more
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