Penny Sumner has worked as a waitress, a photographer at a dolphin pool and a seller of antiquarian books. She came to England from Australia to do postgraduate studies at Oxford and currently lives with her family in Newcastle upon Tyne, where she works as course leader for the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Northumbria. She has edited a number of anthologies.
This is one of those glorious multi-layered, multi-peopled, family sagas stretching over three generations around the world. Full of incident, historical sweep, drama, scandal and passion, it is what good old-fashioned story telling is all about but it does take a little getting into. However, once there, it is truly rewarding.Comparison: Judith Lennox, Sally Beauman, Sarah Harrison.Similar this month: Jennifer Haigh, Adriana Trigiani.
From the practical demands of having children, to the change of identity it brings, this volume addresses woman's experience of motherhood: the need for a room of one's own , the difficulty in balancing a career with the demands of child-rearing, postnatal depression, the ideal of motherhood, holding on to one's sense of self, choosing not to have children, giving birth, and the empty nest. Alice Walker talks about her decision to have only one child; Sue Woolfe mourns the absence of stories about real motherhood; Adrienne Rich writes of the social acceptance but also expectations that have a child can bring; Jacqueline Morreau connects the different stages in her children's lives with with the development of her art and politics; Sharon Olds paints a realistic portrait of giving birth; and Louise Erdrich brings to mind the re-experiencing of childhood's passions and mysteries. This book aims to offer an intimate portrait of motherhood and a window on the creative mind. Contributors include: Maggie Gee, Adrienne Rich, Julia Darling, Julia Alvarez, Louise Erdrich, Alice Walker, poet Sharon Olds; artists Jacqueline Morreau and P.J. Crook; sculptor Kaethe Kollwitz; and dancer Silvia Ebert.