The Georges' Wife
"'It isn't a repetition,' Mr George says when I meet him at the station, 'It isn't a repetition, is it, of that fellow Metcalf? This isn't the same sort of thing is it?' Mr George has come all the way from Scotland to the Midlands to ask me this question...I tell him of course it is different. I am older now...I am a doctor now and in my first resident appointment. I remind him that I am the mother of two daughters and that, above all, I belong to him, Mr George.
"Vera and Mr George have made a new life together but Vera's thoughts return again and again to loves and lovers, meetings and partings, the voices that echo in the mind like music.
"What has she learned from the well-bred peace of the Georges' household; the decadence and disorder of her friendship with Noel and Felicity; the fun and vulgarity shared with her 'widow' on the long voyage to Australia? Must she always repeat the past?
"As in My Father's Moon and Cabin Fever Elizabeth Jolley returns to the themes of discord and harmony between brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, friends and lovers. Her spare and sensitive prose is illuminated with compassion and understanding for the intricacies of human relationships."
What are you thinking, I want to ask Mr George. What are you thnking about, I want to ask him. Are you thinking about Miss Eleanor and whether she will be coming home soon, I want to ask him.
From Harold Avenue we turn left into Hammond and left into Goldsworthy, cross Goldsworthy into Bernard and go on westward downhill, smooth smooth, to the park. My heels, the heels of my shoes, newly repaired, sound on the new surface of the road, like a trotting horse, a little trotting horse. Like a toy horse, Mr George makes this observation saying, at the same time, that his feet are not making any noise on the road.
From the park it is uphill into Thompson and then a right turn into Koeppe across Princess into Caxton, then Warwick and back along Queen. Queen Street is lined on both sides with old twisted trees. The long-leaved peppermints, they make a tunnel of shade and fragrance. In Queen it is like being in a green church or a small green cathedral. Does Mr George think so too, I want to ask him. Would he agree about a cathedral? Is a little street in a suburb, I want to ask him, a place of worship and of prayer?
From the Viking hardback edition, 1993.
This novel won the The Age Book of the Year Award in 1993.
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Last modified: January 11, 2002.