One Life: My Mother's Story
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When Kate Grenville's mother died she left behind many fragments of memoir. These were the starting point for One Life, the story of a woman whose life spanned a century of tumult and change. In many ways Nance's story echoes that of many mothers and grandmothers, for whom the spectacular shifts of the twentieth century offered a path to new freedoms and choices. In other ways Nance was exceptional. In an era when women were expected to have no ambitions beyond the domestic, she ran successful businesses as a registered pharmacist, laid the bricks for the family home, and discovered her husband's secret life as a revolutionary.
One Life is an act of great imaginative sympathy, a daughter's intimate account of the patterns in her mother's life. It is a deeply moving homage by one of Australia's finest writers.
Kate Grenville is one of Australia's most celebrated writers. Her bestselling novel The Secret River received the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The Idea of Perfection won the Orange Prize. Grenville's other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Lilian's Story, Dark Places and Joan Makes History. Kate lives in Sydney and her most recent book is One Life: My Mother's Story.
'What a difficult thing it must have been to write, but what a treasure [Grenville] has given us...Evocative and fascinating, this brave and heartfelt tribute will appeal to anyone interested in their own family story, Australian history, or the lives of women.' Books & Publishing
'Losing your mother is a turning point in everyone's life...Kate Grenville has translated that revelation into a totally mesmerising story which reads not like a memoir, but rather like a perfectly paced novel.' Australian Women's Weekly
'Real life painted with with an almost fictional verve, it's an intensely engaging portrait of a world in flux.' New Daily
'The writing glides, egoless, through this one life that adapted to the massive changes of a century...I closed the book with regret, wanting more.' Monthly
'[A] social history written with the storytelling skill of a novelist.' Australian
'A gift to countless readers who will recognise their own experience, or their mother's experience in these pages.' Australian Book Review
'With her customary elegance and warmth, Kate Grenville has lovingly documented her mother's life, capturing the aura of the times. I thoroughly enjoyed her engrossing story.' Chronicle
'A tribute to a generation of tough Australian women whose stories have mostly been considered unworthy.' North and South
'The sharing of this story of resilience, persistence and a mother's enduring love will resonate across generations.' Good Reading
'Not only one of the world's greatest writers, but one of the world's most intelligent writers, Kate Grenville does an astounding job in telling the story of her late mother in One Life.' Booktopia, Books of the Year 2015
'One Life focuses on her mother's specific history but in a way that resonates with us all...She makes one ordinary woman's life seem remarkable and emblematic.' Aviva Tuffield on ArtsHub