A WOMAN OF THE FUTURE book cover   A Woman of the Future
David Ireland

Cover Photograph by Derek Hughes

Editor's Note:
These notebooks, diaries and papers were found among the effects of Alethea Hunt, and are reproduced by kind permission of her father. We publish them without alteration. Many of the pages contain no hint of the date of writing, but we believe, from the handwriting, that those dealing with her childhood and infancy, and some of the explanatory and reflective pages, were written after she began to find evidence of her change.

Some pages had the year of her age on them and were arranged in chronological order. Where she left headings we have shown them; where not, we have used the first phrase or so of her notes. We have no idea of where she wanted to insert her various general remarks, so we have placed them throughout in the order in which she left them.

"A Woman of the Future is not just a novel, it is a phenomenom " - Douglas Stewart
"remarkable...an extraordinary memoire of adolescence" - John Leonard, New York Times
"a brilliant, often mind-blowing excursion...the sexual scenes here are as deliberately shocking as any recent fiction" - Judith Gies, Saturday Review
"quite superlative powers of observation...a very rewarding read" - Manning Clark, Sydney Morning Herald
"Immense originality, wit and gritty wisdom...David Ireland has reached the top" - Patrick White

First Paragraph:

Mother's stomach bellied out like a sail. Young, she was unable to say no to anyone who asked her to make love. Her reasons for her behaviour were all her own; never, after she'd had me did she allow another man to enter her; my birth was her real marriage. And when I was six, she shut herself away entirely.

It happened in the Chalet, on a ski holiday. Perhaps the cold weather. She knew she had probably made a mistake with her contraceptive, but went ahead, alive to the risk. They did it quickly, against a wall. She had known him years before; it hadn't been a grand passion, more like a baby grand.

I think she half wanted a baby.

From the Penguin paperback edition, 1980.

This page and its contents are copyright © 1998-2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: May 16, 2001.