Karen Lamb’s biography of Thea Astley, one of our great novelists, is a perceptive evocation of a literary life that takes us both into the writing, beyond the writing, and back again. Grounded in an exhaustive scholarship, this work renders a portrait of the public persona of writer, teacher and literary personality, but also of the wife and mother, the web of relationships in neighbourhood and church, and the inner life too – the Thea of unquenchable dissatisfactions, dark moods and caustic wit, the sheer brilliance, the resentments, the ever-striving artist and, of course, the recurrent themes in her work – love, marriage, women’s bleak choices (in Thea’s time), Catholicism, the weather, cultural ignorance, racism and sexism. This is a thoughtful and engaging biography of a poet and novelist who, without writing at the centre of her being, might have exploded. The sub-title, Inventing Her Own Weather, captures something of the singular, idiosyncratic persona so finely rendered here.
About the Author
Karen Lamb teaches literature and communication at the Australian Catholic University and has held teaching and research positions at the University of Queensland, Monash University and the University of Melbourne, where she taught in literary studies, media and communication, and cultural studies. Her research interests include Australian literature, life writing, and the cultural context of authorship. She has edited a book of Australian short stories, and published book chapters and articles on Australian authors, including a book on Peter Carey. She lives in Sydney.