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The End of the Morning

Charmian Clift Nadia Wheatley

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$34.99

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English
New South Books
01 April 2024

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- I am an unashamed fan of Charmian Clift, so it was with a sense of delight at being able to read something 'new' that I approached this. It is a mere 47 pages, and so immediately recognisable that it felt more accomplished than unfinished, despite ending at a point where the reader can just imagine the path of the narrative. It is heavily autobiographical and based on Clift's childhood in working class Depression-era Kiama. The main character, Cressida Morley, is of course familiar through her different iterations in Clift's husband George Johnston's Meredith novels. Full of lush imagery and description and keen psychological insights, this tiny piece left me thankful for having been able to experience it and simultaneously yearning for more…

The rest of the book is composed of Nadia Wheatley's notes and afterword, and a selection of thirty of Clift's newspaper columns, which were not included in Sneaky Little Revolutions (pb $34-99) recently edited by Wheatley. They often draw on Clift's childhood experiences, sometimes subtly, sometimes more obviously. Reading her articles, once again I was struck by her unique and confiding voice, which manages to make the reader feel like a dear friend indeed, and her perceptive and intelligent comments laced with expressive descriptions of the natural world. And once again, I mourn her loss… Lindy

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The never-before-published novel by Charmian Clift.

‘In those days the end of the morning was always marked by the quarry whistle blowing the noon knock-off.

Since everybody was out of bed very early, morning then was a long time, or even, if you came to think about it, a round time — symmetrical anyway, and contained under a thin, radiant, dome shaped cover…’

During the years of the Great Depression, Cressida Morley and her eccentric family live in a weatherboard cottage on the edge of a wild beach. Outsiders in their small working-class community, they rant and argue and read books and play music and never feel themselves to be poor. Yet as Cressida moves beyond childhood, she starts to outgrow the place that once seemed the centre of the world. As she plans her escape, the only question is: who will she become?

The End of the Morning is the final and unfinished autobiographical novel by Charmian Clift. Published here for the first time, it is the book that Clift herself regarded as her most significant work. Although the author did not live to complete it, the typescript left among her papers was fully revised and stands alone as a novella. It is published here alongside a new selection of Clift’s essays and an afterword from her biographer Nadia Wheatley.

‘The End of the Morning is full of feeling, animated by that formless, aching questioning of childhood, and a fascinating glimpse of the forces that shaped Clift as a person and a writer.’ — Fiona Wright

‘Reading her, even a glimpsed paragraph of her, is like quaffing the finest champagne on earth.’ — Peter Craven, Sydney Morning Herald

‘Forthright, funny and with an indefinable flair, Charmian Clift’s writing plays second fiddle to nobody.’ — Richard Cotter, Sydney Arts Guide

By:  
Edited by:  
Imprint:   New South Books
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 135mm, 
ISBN:   9781742238166
ISBN 10:   1742238165
Pages:   240
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for The End of the Morning

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- I am an unashamed fan of Charmian Clift, so it was with a sense of delight at being able to read something 'new' that I approached this. It is a mere 47 pages, and so immediately recognisable that it felt more accomplished than unfinished, despite ending at a point where the reader can just imagine the path of the narrative. It is heavily autobiographical and based on Clift's childhood in working class Depression-era Kiama. The main character, Cressida Morley, is of course familiar through her different iterations in Clift's husband George Johnston's Meredith novels. Full of lush imagery and description and keen psychological insights, this tiny piece left me thankful for having been able to experience it and simultaneously yearning for more…

The rest of the book is composed of Nadia Wheatley's notes and afterword, and a selection of thirty of Clift's newspaper columns, which were not included in Sneaky Little Revolutions (pb $34-99) recently edited by Wheatley. They often draw on Clift's childhood experiences, sometimes subtly, sometimes more obviously. Reading her articles, once again I was struck by her unique and confiding voice, which manages to make the reader feel like a dear friend indeed, and her perceptive and intelligent comments laced with expressive descriptions of the natural world. And once again, I mourn her loss… Lindy


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