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For Love Alone is the story of the intelligent and determined Teresa Hawkins, who believes in passionate love and yearns to experience it. Superbly evoking life in Sydney and London in the s, For Love Alone is the story of the intelligent and determined Teresa Hawkins, who believes in passionate love and yearns to experience it. She focuses her energy on Jonathan Crow, an unlikeable and arrogant man whom she follows to London after four long years of working in a factory and living at home with her loveless family. Reunited with Crow in London, she begins to realise that perhaps he is not as worthy of her affections as originally thought.
Christina Stead Christina Stead was born in Sydney in , and died there in Praise "A remarkable book.
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I feel elated to think it is there. Meanjin Vol 64, No. Upcoming events. What Stead is great at, I think, is capturing this sort of psychological complexity of character - which remains sadly rare in fiction. As in our real lives, we generalise and ignore inconsistency and contradiction just to make things easier to deal with One can quite easily be a feminist and a misogynist at the same time We can say all the right things at all the right times and then still treat our lover like complete shit.
The year-old me was certainly guilty of this at times.
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And, of course, without giving anything away, the "good" lover at the end is seriously flawed, and her realisations about the reality of married life are very far from the usual endings of such stories What Stead posits as a possible solution to the problems of women such as Teresa remains radical even today. It helps, too, that her prose is constructed with great art and skill. I quote the lengthy excerpt below, from about page 70, for two reasons: 1 It was where I realised just how impressive this book was; and 2 It gives a good indication of the naive but powerful female sexuality at play - the danger and excitement of all this Up on the cliffs, Teresa could see the ocean flooding the reefs outside, chocking the headlands and swimming to the landing platforms of jetties in the bays.
It was long after ten when Teresa got to the highest point of the seaward cliffs and turning there, dropped down to the pine-grown bay by narrow paths and tree-grown boulders, trailing her long skirt, holding her hat by a ribbon. From every moon-red shadow came the voices of men and women; in every bush and in the clumps of pine, upon unseen wooden seats and behind rocks, in the grass and even on open ledges, men and women groaned and gave shuddering cries as if they were being beaten.
She passed slowly, timidly, but fascinated by the strange battlefield, the bodies stretched out, contorted, with sounds of the dying under the fierce high moon. She did not know what the sounds were, but she knew children would be conceived this night, and some time later women would marry hurriedly, if they could, like one of her cousins, who had slept the night with a man in one of these very grottoes; and perhaps one or two would jump in the sea. There were often bodies fished up round here, that had lepth when the heart still beat, from these high ledges into waters washed round these rocks by the moon.
In this hot night, not only the rocks above her, half-naked among twisted, tooth-leaved trees and spiney bushes, but the little open park she was now approaching, the grass above the dripping rocks of the military reserve, and the tram-shelters, were full of semitones and broken whispers. The roots, the trees, the timbers of the houses, stained by storms, the back yards full of plasterers' rubbish, the niches in the stony undercliff were refuges of love. She came out from the lane, crossed the road and skirted the park. Near the seesaw, on the short grass, lay a black shape, unmoving. When she passed it, she saw it was a man over a woman, the woman's white gloves and bag lay on the grass beside them.
They caught pickpockets in the Bay. Near the Old Hotel two more, the woman on her back and the man on his elbow, lay looking into each other's eyeballs, reflecting the moon.
There were none of them on the beach tonight, drowned under the high tide; none in the boats drawn up across the footpath. People sat in their moist warm gardens, talking and hitting out at the mosquitoes: the smell of eucalyptus oil and pipe-smoke reached out. Across the harbour, on the oyster-coloured water, a large Manly ferry full of lights moved southwards toward the city. She felt the swarm of lovers thick as locusts behind her when she turned into the beach path.
Tied up to the fourth pile of the wharf was a rowing boat covered with a tarpaulin. Under the tarpaulin was a woman's body: she had been fished out of the sea just outside of the cliffs that afternoon; it did not cause much comment. They lived there, among the gardens of the sea, and knew their fruits: fish, storms, corpses. Angela Carter thought it a masterpiece, and was a big fan of Stead's work.
For Love Alone
Hopefully that will convince you to give her a try, though do not let The Man Who Loved Children or some of its reviews on this site distract you from the brilliance of the rest of her work. I have read 4 of her novels now and will certainly be reading more View all 6 comments. Jan 07, Lily Patchett rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.
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View 1 comment. This is the third novel I've read by Christina Stead. Her writing is fierce, intense and exhausting and her characters are vivid and sometimes grotesque. This novel conveys an amazing impression of Sydney in the thirties and provides a very rich portrayal of the difficulties and frustrations faced by a young, intelligent and sexually aware woman in that era. A great Australian novel, in my opinion though maybe not for the faint-hearted.
I really do not know what to make of this book. I mean. Things that stood out about it: - For the first half, the scenic descriptions of Sydney were spot on. So spot on. Consider this one. That's the main reason I read the book, I was promised modernist sense of place, so I guess it wins on that score. It's like she predicted my terrible taste in men well in advance of my birth.
However, I am not without reservations.
Things that were weird about this book: - Its treatment of homosexuality. The subject wasn't mentioned at all until England, whereupon Jonathan's willingness to countenance the idea of male-male relations is used as proof of his corruption and misogyny. But I found myself reading him as a closeted bisexual, too afraid to approach homosexuality in anything but theory, and unable to have genuine relationships with women partly in consequence. Which, I'm pretty sure, was not the reading Christina Stead wanted me to take.
I really don't think it sounded terribly healthy, the de facto husband fellow was a bit of a wet blanket, and the whole adultery plot was both hilarious and bizarre. I mean, if I ever need a great one-page excerpt to illustrate the exchange of women as male homosocial bonding, I know where to go!
And it was all very Very odd. Still, I like the idea that the time to fall in love with your pseudo-husband is after some strategic adultery. Oct 23, Cheryl rated it liked it. I can't rate this one as high as "The Man Who Loved Children" by the same author for lack of virtuosity and Jonathan Crow is absolutely insufferable, but I do think it is interesting how this novel depicts a female heroic journey, especially since it was written before the rise of women's lib.
May 22, Mark rated it it was amazing. This, I believe, is one of the greatest pieces of Australian literature ever written. Its scope and timlessness is superb, and its structure is astounding. Apr 19, Kathryn rated it it was amazing. Absolutely brilliant tale of a highly-strung young woman who allows herself to be lead-on by a sour misogynist. Aug 07, Pablo rated it it was amazing.
I discovered Christina Stead's name in a collection of essays by Angela Carter and was intrigued by the delight and awe shown towards her subject of the sort usually reserved for William Burroughs, hey.. Stead's keen eye capture I discovered Christina Stead's name in a collection of essays by Angela Carter and was intrigued by the delight and awe shown towards her subject of the sort usually reserved for William Burroughs, hey.. Stead's keen eye captures withering, occasionally hilarious, portraits and psychologies: of Teresa herself, of the moody and irresponsible Jonathan Crow who passes through its pages like some gaseous D.
Lawrence construction , and American Businessman in London Mr. For Love Alone is a beautiful and unflinching achievement. A profound book, delving into the nature of love and sex from a rough and heavy hand of the internal moral landscape. However at the root of the story telling is an ageless ness which explores the terror and the ecstasy, forbidden territory and the selfs need for acceptance or rebellion by societies status quo. Granted this book could take a little to get into. S A profound book, delving into the nature of love and sex from a rough and heavy hand of the internal moral landscape.
Stead has been intentionally vague about time and place.