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The Broken Book by Susan Johnson
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The Broken Book

by Susan Johnson

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Ambitious , fascinating triple stranded book based on Charmian Clift. ( )
  annejacinta | Apr 28, 2014 |
The novel is loosely based on the life of Australian writer and essayist Charmain Clift. It is written across different time frames; part journal, part excerpts from a work of autobiographical fiction written by the central protagonist Katherine. At first I was enthralled by this multi-layered account of a woman’s journey through childhood, her emerging sexuality, relationships, art, motherhood and, as the novel progresses, her descent into depression and disillusionment. The work certainly throws up many interesting themes and ideas about women and artists in post-war Australia and abroad. The book also discusses the attitudes in Australia towards culture at this time and, examples of misogyny, particularly from Katherine’s husband that are thankfully less notable in modern Australia. At some point in the middle of this book, I started to lose interest. One issue I had is Johnson’s attempts to write the journal entries of Katherine as a young woman, they were a little forced and too consciously naïve. At other times I found the writing long-winded and rambling. All in all, this book didn’t overwhelm me. There are some interesting aspects and some beautifully written passages but the work didn’t quite contain the depth of experience and emotional connection I was hoping for and I think this is why it didn’t carry my interest to the end. ( )
  Sophiejf | May 1, 2013 |
This book follows both the journal of Katherine Elgin and the book she was writing, The Broken Book. There was much beauty in the writing and I found myself identifying with many of her thoughts, however there is an overwhelming sadness filtering through the story. My one complaint is that because we move from journal to book and backwards and forwards in time, I felt confused by the characters and I couldn't clearly remember which bits related to her journal and which the story she was writing, although I did wonder if this was intentional, making us ponder if in fact the fiction was reality.
A reread might be in order... ( )
  HelenBaker | Dec 18, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 174114664X, Paperback)

A remarkable story of one woman’s struggle to become the writer she has passionately planned to be her entire life—this fiercely beautiful novel conjures vivid and powerful emotions. Following the stunningly beautiful Katherine Elgin from a small coastal town in Australia to London and the islands of Greece—this intriguing and intricately structured tale unravels the truths of art and life. Katherine’s story will resonate powerfully with women—especially those who have faced the demands of motherhood, marriage, and the pursuit of an artistic passion.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:21 -0400)

GENERAL & LITERARY FICTION. Katherine Elgin grew up in a small coastal town in Australia, desperate to transcend her beginnings and make her mark. From her rebellious and contemplative childhood Katherine emerges as a stunningly beautiful young woman, with a voracious appetite for life's most interesting experiences and an overwhelming desire to write the best book she possibly can.But beauty is a double-edged sword and throughout her life - from Sydney, to London, to the islands of Greece - Katherine carries the burden of being both siren and artist. Mirroring truths of art and life, creativity and reality, The Broken Book is wonderfully rich, complex and compelling. Susan Johnson has created an audacious and original novel with an awe-inspiring ability to explore emotional truths.… (more)

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