About the Author
Monica McInerney has long been one of my favourite Australian authors and her latest novel, “Hello from the Gillespies” was no disappointment.
McInerney is the master of relating the intracasies of ordinary family relationships with both empathy and humour.
The settings for most of her novels combine her South Australian upbringing and her current home in Dublin with her Irish husband. Her latest novel is set in rural South Australia, with a brief interlude in the Irish towns from whence the Gillespie family originated.
Hello from the Gillespies
“Hello from the Gillespies” is set on a remote sheep station in outback South Australia, which has been handed down through generations of the family.
It relates the lives of Nick and Angela Gillespie, their three grown daughters, and young son and the miscommunication and mayhem which run rampant in their family.
Twins Genevieve and Victoria have their sights set on stellar careers, Lindy’s emotional neediness is draining to everyone and much younger son Ig would rather play on the computer than take an interest in farm life.
For the past 32 years English born Angela Gillespie has sent a cheery Christmas letter to family and friends across the globe. In it she details the perfect lives of her rural Australian family and highlights their successes and triumphs during the past year.
However their family is far from the picture of perfect domesticity and success that Angela has painted over the years.
Drought and crippling debt has spiralled her husband Nick into withdrawal and depression. He feels a failure for being unable to continue the woolgrowing legacy of his family.
Like many rural children their three thirty-something daughters headed off to the bright lights and glamour of the big city to find fame and fortune.
They have all returned home amid scandal, career failure and debt to find sanctuary within the family home. Their 10 year old son spends more time with his imaginary friend than in reality.
Angela’s family are so self absorbed with their own problems, they fail to realise Angela’s own struggles to continue to keep the family together and running smoothly.
Feeling isolated and shut out Angela begins to retreat into her own fantasy world, where the pressures of rural family life no longer exist.
The voice of reason within the mayhem is neighbouring friend, Joan whose words of wisdom are always called upon in times of trouble. Which is frequently.
It was Joan’s worlds of wisdom that lead Angela to inadvertently tell the truth in her annual “Hello from the Gillespies” Christmas letter, bringing the simmering tensions within the family to a head.
Amid the crisis, an unforseen series of events remove Angela as the lynch-pin of the family. The remaining Gillespies are forced to pull together without her, bringing their own lives into focus.
You’ll not only get to love the Gillespie family, but also the surrounding landscape.
McInerney’s writing clearly evokes the often harsh and changing surroundings and the inherent beauty to be found in the Australian outback in which this book is set.
“Hello from the Gillespies” was published by Penguin July 2018
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