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Prelude to Christopher by Eleanor Dark

Prelude to Christopher (1934)

by Eleanor Dark

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212743,110 (3.29)2



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I read this for a university course in my undergrad, and I'm so glad I did!

This book is very modernist, so if you like that style, you might really enjoy this. This book is an Australian classic, written by Eleanor Dark. (Isn't that a fantastic name?)

The writing itself is very interesting and not something I would usually find in a book, but I still remember some of the lines or passages really well. I liked the female characters in this book, particularly the main character's wife. (I'm terrible with names! Apologies.)

I thought this novel was really dark and brooding and atmospheric - one of the female characters was almost witch-like, really haunting and arresting. I like how complex and layered this book is, I feel like I could reread it and get a lot out of it.

(And just a quick trigger warning, this book contains self-harm themes, mental health themes and suicide.)

4 stars from me. c: ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

This modernist novel is a classic of Australian literature that is not talked about nearly enough. It is a discussion of the effects of eugenics in the 1930s Australia, as well as the hereditary nature of madness.

The beginning of this novel starts off interestingly enough, with Nigel being injured in a car crash. We are then almost immediately introduced to the fragmented consciousness of Linda, his wife. Things get progressively more melodramatic from there though.

I have to confess I didn't finish reading this text. The modernist style and flow of consciousness style really wasn't up my alley. I had to read it and write an essay on it on how modernism and realism developed in Australian literature. I have to say it's not one of my better essays at all.

It took me ages to work out that Dark was the surname of the author who wrote the book! Well, not ages, but I was confused for a bit, when I was searching to buy it online. The cover certainly fits in with the Dark theme don't you think?

I think the most interesting thing about this novel was that the time progression is really strange (modernism!!). The book is officially set out into 4 parts of 4 days, but the time period covered within is much more than that due to flashbacks.

When reading about this novel, I found it interesting that Dark took a long time to write it because she was dealing with raising a small child, and she felt that it was impossible to write while trying to look after him during the day. Perhaps that is where the idea of Linda's desire for a child comes from. The idealism in the text is said to come from the ideas of Dark's own husband.

I'm unable to give you a link to buy this text, as it seems to be out of print everywhere (much to the dismay of my literature teacher). I got mine from a friend who had previously studied the unit. If you live in Australia, and want to read it, you're welcome to my copy! ( )
  Rosemarie.Herbert | Feb 14, 2013 |
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To Eric
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THE CAR came up gamely over the crest of the long hill, and Nigel, glancing at the speedometer, thought: "She's never done it at twenty-five before."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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First published in 1934, this dramatic novel covers four days following a car crash where a doctor is critically injured, and the women around him struggle with their hopes, inhibitions and knowledge.

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