Four members attended our June meeting, including one new member.

This month we discussed Reckoning – a Memoir, by Magda Szubanski.

Most people found this month’s book to be both moving and poignant. Several members thought that it was too detailed and needed editing to cut out some of the longer passages.

Magda came over in the book as being very honest and open about her life, and several people thought she would make a very loyal friend.

We thought Magda’s father was an interesting person, and discussed his motivation for forcing the young Magda to play in tennis tournaments. It was generally thought that this was to “toughen her up” emotionally so that she would be as strong as he had to be during the war. He also pushed her to be a high achiever to make up for his own lack of opportunities in war-torn Poland, and in the aftermath of war.

We discussed Genetic Memories and how Magda “remembered” parts of her grandfather’s life in Ireland. This led to talk about the impact that the Second World War had on our parents / grandparents. We talked about rationing in the post-war years both in England and in Australia.

Several people thought it was strange that Magda’s father was willing to talk about his experiences in the war.

Overall we found it to a haunting history of the Szubanksi family, encompassing Magda’s life in Australia and reaching back to her mother’s Scottish / Irish background and her father’s Polish heritage.

Dressmaker book

Next month we are reading “The Dressmaker” by Rosalie Ham

A darkly satirical novel of love, revenge, and 1950s haute couture

After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.

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