"Born into a strict Christian family in Sydney at the start of the century, Annie contends with an overbearing mother and a harsh religion. Kept at home, partially deafened by illness and mistreatment, she clings to her mother and her dominating religious certainties. Yet something stirs under the starch of faith. Annie finds a friend late in life and discovers a passion for living to equal her passion for gardening. In her sixties, Annie confronts her mother.
"This is the story of one woman's struggle to lay claim to her own life. And within the seemingly narrow contours of family and church and garden, Annie discovers that it is, after all, a big life."
"a splendid, moving book" - Andrew Riemer
I rise with the sun. I place my slippers by the bed at night, alongside my dressing-gown draped over the bedroom chair. It is the delicate chair my father gave my mother in their first year of marriage. As a child I would slip into my parents' bedroom to sit on that chair. Our weights felt compatible. I would sit on that pretty chair and tell myself I was pretty too. I don't trust my weight on it now.
In the near darkness my hands and feet are sure as homing pigeons and I am slippered and gowned before I switch on the light. I sit at my dressing-table and plait my hair. Certain stretches are very difficult these days but this weaving of hair is a lifetime habit and it remains untouched by age. Deborah attends a gym and can do amazing contortions with her body. A bit like a circus act really. She put on a leotard and went through some routines for me once, for us, since I was holding Kimberley and we were the audience. Deborah had cleared a space in the middle of the living room and I perched myself in a corner, baby on my lap, both of us alert and attentive. Kimberley and I are not always so coordinated. Deborah put her body into positions I've only ever seen cats in. That thing that cats do, when they lean right back without support, stick a leg in the air then twist their heads around, all in the name of a good clean; well when cats do it, it looks graceful, but with Deborah it looked painful. The tendons in her neck were standing out and her breath was coming in sharp puffs. I was so taken aback I made some particularly asinine remark such as, Goodness aren't you a clever girl. No wonder she dislikes me at times.
From the Allen and Unwin paperback edition, 1995.
This novel was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 1996, and shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel award in 1994.
About the Author:
Judith Fox was born and raised in Newcastle, by the sea. After living in Europe for one year, Judith moved to Sydney where she studied Communications at the University of Technology.
She has worked as a barmaid, a film and television researcher and reviewer, a doctor's receptionist, a lecturer and now works in publishing. Bracelet Honeymyrtle is her first novel.
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Last modified: May 18, 2002.