The Science of Appearances

Author(s): Jacinta Halloran


"A brilliant story of family and heredity, of the things that bind us together and that wrench us apart. Dominic and Mary are twins, but they are also opposites: Dominic, the first-born, is thoughtful and quiet, riven by the responsibility he feels over his father's death. His logical mind draws him towards the pursuit of science and knowledge. Mary, who loves to draw, is passionate and impetuous. The small country town in which they live, in the aftermath of World War II, is not enough to contain her ambitions for life and for love. When Mary escapes to Melbourne in pursuit of sensuality and art, Dominic must shoulder the mantle of family responsibility. Mary begins a new life, exploring the bohemian haunts of a rapidly changing post-war city. Dominic studies hard and eventually finds himself drawn into the field of eugenics, a fraught pseudo-science based on ideology. Then he meets Hanna, the daughter of Jewish refugees, who begins to show him the limitations of his scientific view. But Dominic and Mary are destined to come together, and the past cannot be left behind so easily. When Dominic comes looking for his sister, Mary must decide where her loyalties lie: to her family or to her art. Dominic, meanwhile, bears a secret of his own. This is a powerful novel about the choices we make in pursuit of our ideas, and the inexorable pull of the past. Set in an era of social constraint but profound genetic discovery, The Science of Appearances examines how the complex interplay of heredity and environment makes, shapes, and sometimes breaks us."


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Praise for Jacinta Halloran'Jacinta Halloran is one of our finest proponents of moral realism ... Her fine analytical intelligence is matched by compelling, rhythmic prose.' - Amanda LohreySelling Points* An atmospheric and moving historical novel about family dynamics and buried secrets* set during the mid 1940s and 1950s, it follows the lives of twins Dominic and Mary, and the different paths they forge* for fans of Kate Grenville, Emily Bitto, and Amanda Lohrey

"Jacinta Halloran is a Melbourne based writer and GP. She has written on medical science for The Sunday Age, and her short stories have been published in New Australian Stories 2 and The Pen and the Stethoscope. A former board member for the Stella Prize for Women's Writing, Jacinta is also involved as a speaker in the Stella Schools Program. Her first novel, Dissection (2008), was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and her second, Pilgrimage (2012), was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award."

General Fields

  • : 9781925321579
  • : Scribe Publications
  • : Scribe Publications
  • : 0.386
  • : June 2016
  • : 232mm X 154mm X 27mm
  • : Australia
  • : August 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 304
  • : 916
  • : Paperback
  • : Jacinta Halloran