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The Vera Wright Trilogy: My Father's Moon / Cabin Fever / The Georges' Wife (Karen & Michael Braziller Books) Paperback – April 13, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The first two novels of this trilogy by the late Australian writer Jolley were issued in the U.S. in the 1980s, but the third was not available until now. Largely autobiographical, the novels provide a haunting portrait of a woman who came of age during WWII in England, forging her identity in courageous circumstances. My Father's Moon traces Vera's childhood, her experiences as a nurse in wartime London and her seduction and pregnancy by a womanizing physician. In Cabin Fever, Vera, poor and desperate, is exploited as a teacher at a dreadful boarding school. The Georges, the title characters in the third novel, are an elderly brother and sister in Glasgow who take in Vera as a maid. Vera has another daughter out of wedlock with Mr. George, with whom she moves to Australia in the 1950s. The books do not accrue to a conventional narrative, however. These facts, teased out from the repetition of seminal memories, like the shards of a kaleidoscope, are merely the bones of a lyrically written, imaginatively observed and emotionally compelling work. (Feb.)
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Jolley makes the inner life of her protagonist the dramatic center of her work, giving the reader what feels like unfettered access to the emotional and psychological impact of any given moment. (NewPages)

The most ambitious and accomplished work in Elizabeth Jolley’s oeuvre. (J. M. Coetzee)

A work of emotional depth and beauty, which will be enjoyed by anyone who likes to wrap themselves in compelling, artful fiction. (MostlyFiction)

[A] lyrically written, imaginatively observed and emotionally compelling work. (Publishers Weekly)

Full of mystery . . . [and] many, many pleasures―a string of characters worthy of Dickens, Jolley’s joy in nature, in the sense of place, her love of poetry and music. . . . something to re-read, again and again. (Roberta Silman - World Books Review)

It’s not often that I discover a writer who creates a character who I wish could be a real life friend….[The Vera Wright Trilogy] is a beautiful, rich, and layered masterpiece. (Nina Sankovitch - The Huffington Post)

Vera is a remarkable protagonist, a quiet rebel involved in a struggle with societal and familial expectations. . . . Jolley deserves to be counted among the great voices of the past century, and her trilogy deserves to be read, discussed, and adored. (San Francisco Book Review)

Jolley’s almost magical prose imbues the ordinary events of Vera’s life with an incandescent strangeness. (Howard County Times (Maryland))

Jolley transports us to ‘the twilight between the fact and the imagined’. . . .Just open this book to any page to see the strange, beautiful music she makes out of the raw material of her life. (Karen Russell, author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)

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Product Details

  • Series: Karen & Michael Braziller Books
  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Persea; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892553529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892553525
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,035,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
Although she wrote all her life, Jolley didn't get her first book published until she was 53. Thereafter she published 15 novels, four story collections and four non-fiction books. The daughter of an Austrian mother and English father and a transplant to Australia from England, she became one of Australia's most celebrated authors and won at least 16 awards. Yet by the time of her death in 2007, her books were out of print.

This new edition of her acclaimed autobiographical trilogy brings these three novels together in one volume in the U.S. for the first time. The conclusion, The George's Wife, was never before published here though it won major awards and accolades in Australia.

Having read My Father's Moon and Cabin Fever years ago, I can tell you it makes a difference having the final volume, but even more - reading the books in one volume changes the experience. There's a disjointed quality to Vera's narration and a rhythm to the prose, which creates a deep intimacy when all three books are read together. The format also satisfies the build-up of suspense and relieves certain frustrations with Vera's sometimes self-destructive passivity.

As My Father's Moon opens in post-WWII England, Vera is departing with her illegitimate daughter, Helena, for a teaching position at a progressive boarding school, Fairfields. Her mother is distressed that she is taking the child, but then her mother is distressed at the whole mess Vera has made of her promising life.

And thirty pages later, as if to underscore her series of bad choices, Vera is waiting at the end of a train line, having left squalid, abusive Fairfields and thrown herself on the mercy of a nursing colleague she hasn't communicated with in five years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CK Webb on July 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
The George's Wife was written by celebrated Australian author Elizabeth Jolley who passed away in 2007. It is being released as part of The Vera Wright Trilogy which contains three previously released books. My Father's Moon was published by Penguin Books, Australia and Harper & Row, New York in 1989. Cabin Fever was published by Penguin Books, Australia and Harper & Row, New York in 1990. The Georges' Wife was originally published by Penguin Books, Australia in 1993.
This 3-in-1 volume of The Vera Wright Trilogy is being published for the first time anywhere in the world by Persea Books, New York and includes the first ever U.S. release of The Georges' Wife.
Vera Wright tells her moving story as she takes a job working for and living with the Georges', a well-to-do brother and sister. Vera goes through all the emotion of discovering who she is and the place she wants to hold in the world, as a secret relationship develops with the much older Mr. George. Through everyday struggles with life and death and the role they play in her life, Vera evolves into a wonderful mother to her two children, a loving and steadfast companion for Miss George and a longing and faithful lover to Mr.George.
The Georges' Wife is beautifully written and echoes of classic authors who have come before Elizabeth Jolley. With a writing style akin to Flannery O'Conner and Jane Austin, Elizabeth Jolley is sure to become one of the greats in classic literature and a premier writer of our time. I am giving The Georges' Wife a 4-star rating. If poignant, heartfelt and soulful expression is what you seek in a novel then The Vera Wright Trilogy is the moving modern-day classic you seek.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan A. Elsner VINE VOICE on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
This volume contains three interlinked, semi-autobiographical novels that deal with the life and loves of a British woman during and after World War II. Jolley was born in England in 1923 and died in Australia in 2007, having become one of her adopted nation's most celebrated authors. According to a brief biographical note at the end of this book, her 15 novels and four story collections won every major Australian literary award, were translated into every major European language and were also much praised in the United States. However, by the time she died, most of her books were out of print.

In these three novels - My Father's Moon, Cabin Fever and The Georges' Wife - Jolley's alter ego Vera Wright runs away from her parent's German-speaking Quaker home to become a wartime nurse in London. She has various sexual encounters and crushes, some consummated, some not, with both men and women, gives birth to two daughters out of wedlock, and ends up marrying a much older man and emigrating to Australia.

The narrative, always told in the present tense, darts backward and forward in time, creating a kind of kaleidoscope. Starting during Vera's childhood at boarding school, the story takes us all the way to her old age. Certain key scenes are examined and re-examined throughout the three books; characters appear and reappear. Gradually, the reader pieces together a chronology of Wright's life. However, some crucial incidents are never completely spelled out. One eventually comes to understand the protagonist's sexual life, but that too is never described. The major tone of the book is one of reticence.

This technique creates problems. Because the action is non-linear, there is never a sense of suspense or a true narrative arc.
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