Come in Spinner
with Florence James
"We were both pretty steamed up about the problems of women on the home front, says Florence James of her collaboration with Dymphna Cusack in the writig of the novel Come In Spinner. So we decided to pool our wartime experience and tell the truth about what the war had done ... how it had thrown decent people off balance, and exploitation had become the name of the game.
"Thoroughly engrossing, compulsively readable, Come In Spinner was an immediate sensation when it was first published in 1951. Its action revolving largely around the Hotel South Pacific where the girls and the "occupying" American troops meet in the vestibule, where upstairs in the Marie Antionette beauty salon the attendants Deb, Guinea and Claire, each with her own complicated romantic entanglement, work long hours to disguise the shortcomings of their rich, fat clientele, Come In Spinner is sharply observant of the new era ushered in by World War II. From languid, wealthy Palm Beach to the brothels of Kings Cross, Come In Spinner paints a fascinating, lively portrait of the relationships between men and women, and the desperate search for the good times.
"With all material cut from the original abridged 1951 edition now painstakingly restored by Florence James, this new, complete edition of Come In Spinner is a publishing event in Australian literary history."
"To lose oneself in Come in Spinner is indeed a stirring and memorable experience" - Sunday Times
"Quite astonishingly readable" - Observer
Angus McFarland stepped out of the private hire car at the main entrance of the Hotel South Pacific and snapped a brusque reply to the commissionaire's "Good evening, sir." The chauffeur pocketed his tip, touched his cap, and the car moved smoothly down Macquarie Street.
Angus was hot and uncomfortable. The unseasonable heat of the spring afternoon beat up from the pavement, and across the street the glare from the setting sun blazed back from the fan-shaped transoms of Parliament House. He noticed with rising irritation that the sky was angry with clouded fire, and flaming mares' tales rioted in the upper air. That would mean another hot day tomorrow - probably a westerly, judging by the sky.
What a fool he had been to let his sister persuade him to go to Wahroonga on a day like this, even if Ian and his family were down from the country on one of their infrequent visits. It had been damned boring as well as uncomfortable -- nothing but family business and gossip. Serve him right for going; he had nothing whatever in common with Virginia or Ian, and he ought to have known better. He should have spent the afternoon up at the Continental Gymnasium having his usual Friday Turkish bath and massage to get himself in form for his evening with Deborah. A man wanted to feel at his best with a girl as vibrant and beautiful as she was -- particularly when he was seventeen years older.
From the Angus and Robertson hardback edition, 1988.
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Last modified: February 28, 2006.