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The Mint Lawn

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  122 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
North Coast, New South Wales. Clementine is twenty-five and still living in the place where she grew up, rooted there by memories and her own inability to make changes until she has understood her past.

That past is dominated by memories of her mother, and her mother's attempts to dramatise and enrich small-town life and the perceptions of her three, clever, receptive daugh
Paperback, 298 pages
Published 1991 by Allen & Unwin
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☼♄Jülie 

Although the writing here is very good, and the author's attention to detail noteworthy, I found this story was a bit too unrelentingly intense to be valued in any particular sense.
The air of desolation throughout doesn't let up and [for me] started to become oppressive by the middle to end of the felt too uncomfortably like eavesdropping on a story I didn't want to hear, but now I'd heard it I couldn't "unhear" it, and had to keep listening.
Many parts of it made me cringe, and many pa
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reviews
The Mint Lawn is essentially one woman’s tale — of her disappointing marriage to an older man, and her complicated but loving relationship with her mother, killed before her time in a car accident, over whom she is continuing to grieve. Clementine is 25 and has never left the town on the northern NSW coast where she was born, raised and educated. She’s trapped in a marriage with quirky old Hugh, the man who was once her music teacher, and is desperate to escape — to live a more adventurous and p ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phew. I found The Mint Lawn by Gillian Mears intense. And dense. I was expecting to become completely absorbed (as I did with Foal’s Bread) but instead, I got bogged down in heavy prose, the shifting timeline, and emotionally taxing characters.

The story is set in the fictional town of Jacaranda, on the north coast of New South Wales (I believe Jacaranda is based on the town of Grafton). Clementine, aged twenty-five and married to her high-school music teacher, Hugh, is still living in the place
Lisa Matthews
After having read Foal's Bread and absolutely loved it, I was keen to read more from this author and started with this, her debut novel. While it was beautifully written, I didn't enjoy the novel nearly as much. It was a rather bleak and unsatisfactory novel for me. I felt the use of shifting timelines a little messy and it was one of thosse books that, while the premise of the story is promising, the characters just did not come alive for me and so I failed to really connect with any of them. T ...more
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Twenty years on, The Mint Lawn is as extraordinary as ever.
Lesley Moseley
DNF . Loved the writing, but too bleak so just read the ending. Glad I skipped most of the middle.
Yvette Adams
Jan 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was keen to read this because it's set in my home town of Grafton, and the author is the ex-wife of one of my high school teachers (who one of the book's characters is based on). I loved the references to Grafton (even though it's not named) but I hated the rest of the book! My mum wanted to borrow the book because of its setting, but she only got a few pages into it before realising she couldn't get any further.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mint Lawn is bursting at the seams with the intensity of childhood, family and small town life. For me there were echoes of The Man Who Loved Children in the unconventional restless mother and feeling of being under an ever-critical microscope. Foals Bread lead me to The Mint Lawn and I am in awe of Gillian Mears' ability as a writer.
Denise Rawling
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a mix- tough but so tender, nostalgic but never sentimental, painful clarity and courage not to turn away from harsh truth but never heartless. Sometimes a difficult and intense read but impossible not to come back. Richly evocative of a time and place and an emotional landscape seen with an unflinching eye and delivered with a incandescent skill.
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia, fiction, female
Oh dear. Brilliant but so brutally honest about the fallibility of human nature and the damage caused to others as we try to realise our dreams.
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Gillian Mears was an Australian short story writer and novelist.
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