A classic novel by a superb observer of contemporary manners, The Women in Black illuminates on every page the extraordinariness of ordinary lives.
It's Sydney in the late 1950s, and the Ladies' Cocktail Frocks department of the famous F.G. Goode department store is bracing itself for the Christmas rush. The women that make up its staff-in their regulation black dresses-are run off their feet, but there's just enough time left to dream and scheme. By the time the last marked-down frock has been sold, most of the staff will have been launched into different careers.
Madeleine St Johnwas born in Sydney. She graduated from Sydney University in 1963 and lived in London for most of the succeeding years, until her death in 2006. The Women in Blackwas her first novel, followed by A Pure Clear Light, 1996, The Essence of the Thing(shortlisted for the Booker Prize), 1997, and A Stairway to Paradise, 1999.
'Seductive, hilarious, brilliantly observed, this novel shimmers with wit and tenderness.' Helen Garner
'Funny, affectionate, moving and written with a light, comic touch.' Monica McInerney, Australian Women's Weekly
'This glorious, witty snapshot of Australia in the 1950s...it really is a gem in the rough....This is no nostalgia piece for a lost way of life, but a clever, funny argument for why things had to change.' Sunday Times
'An excellent read.' Starts at 60
Madeleine St John is the author of A Pure Clear Light, The Essence of the Thing (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize), and Stairway to Paradise.