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Indelible Ink: A Novel Paperback – August 1, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A stunning book, a novel that addresses our world and our time with an acute and ferocious acumen. There is also tenderness here and there is wisdom."  —Christos Tsiolkas, Commonwealth Writers' prize–winner, The Slap

About the Author

Fiona McGregor is the author of the novel Au Pair and the award-winning short story collection Suck My Toes. She is a contributor to the Australian, Real Time, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Scribe Publications Pty Ltd. (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1921215968
  • ISBN-13: 978-1921215964
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,031,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is incredible Australian literary fiction, I can't believe I did not read it earlier, it is entirely worthy of all the awards it won. Indelible Ink has flawed yet likeable characters, and several unexpected twists and turns. I'm always looking for Australian novels that accurately depict the Australia of today and this does, very well. McGregor has a magnificent ability to write so that her characters seem like people I know. The wealthy, greedy father, the children who can't live up to their father's career goals but need to find themselves in other ways, the family conflict where adults become children again and lastly the mother who holds them all together but is on her own personal journey of discovery. Set in Sydney, shifting between Mosman and Surry Hills, this is the story of a segment of Marie King’s life. Marie, aged 59 and divorced, has lost herself. She lives in a beautiful home in Mosman, and appears to have led a relatively privileged life however somewhere along the way, Marie seems to have lost her sense of self. One day, bolstered by the bravery of alcohol, Marie wanders into a tattoo parlour. Her first tattoo leads to others, and introduces Marie or sometimes reminds her of other aspects of life. Marie’s friends, and her children Clark, Blanche and Leon do not understand Marie’s need for tattoos. I found the novel fascinating because of the way Fiona McGregor depicts Marie’s search for her own sense of life and what is important to her.
There is no happy ending in this novel, no chance for a happy new beginning. But, the Marie with whom we end the novel is a more fulfilled woman than the Marie with whom we commenced it. A gripping book that squeezes your heart. 5 + stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Set in Sydney, shifting between Mosman and Surry Hills, this is the story of a segment of Marie King’s life. Marie, aged 59 and divorced, is unsatisfied with aspects of her life. Sure, she lives in a beautiful home in Mosman, and appears to have led a relatively privileged life. But somewhere along the way, Marie seems to have lost her sense of self. Increasingly, she is aware that she can no longer support the lifestyle she’s become used to on the allowance her ex-husband Ross pays. One day, bolstered by the bravery bestowed by alcohol, Marie wanders into a tattoo parlour. Her first tattoo leads to others, and introduces Marie (or sometimes reminds her) of other aspects of life.

Marie’s friends, and her children Clark, Blanche and Leon do not understand Marie’s need for (or is it an obsession with?) tattoos. For a while, it seems as though Marie is in control of her life, but is she?

I found this novel challenging, and interesting. Challenging because I found it very difficult to feel much sympathy for any of the characters. I don’t recognise much of the world that Marie, her friends and children inhabit. And yet, despite the privilege and opportunity conferred by wealth, few of the characters seemed comfortable or happy either with themselves or the world. I found the novel interesting because of the way Ms McGregor depicts Marie’s search for her own sense of life and what is important to her. There’s something about Marie’s desire to define herself separate from her family and her environment, about her appreciation of beauty in nature which held my attention. It is mid-summer, and Sydney is in drought. Many of the lives of those in the novel are also ‘in drought’, needing nourishment to meet their potential.
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Format: Paperback
I cried when I read this novel, the death of a parent too real. McGregor has a magnificent ability to characterize so that her story's characters seemed like people I know. The wealthy, greedy father, the children who can't live up to their father's career goals but need to find themselves in other ways, the family conflict where adults become children again and lastly the mother who holds them all together although she is dying.
A gripping book that squeezes your heart.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If I were to score this book just on the standard of the writing, it would easily get a 5. The story flowed well, despite moving between the perspective of the main 4 family members - and all the characters, and their surrounds, were beautifully drawn. I identified with the location as I have spent most of my adult life in this area, including 19 years in a neighbouring suburb. However I couldn't identify with the characters, particularly the 3 adult children. I found them to be terribly self indulgent. I did not like some of the language and could not imagine the Mosman matrons (Marie's generation) that I knew, using it. I also did not like the ending. Although there was some hope that the 'children' were resolving some of their issues, I felt left up in the air. However, if you like to read something different that may also challenge some of your perceptions, then I recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
Having cut my teeth on "Strange Museums" I was looking forward to seeing how Fiona McGregor's writing style worked in the novel genre. Like a swan down the slipway. It is not a great novel-for me it lacked the insight Ms McGregor brought to "Strange Museums". But it more than compensates by the issues tackled. Ageing, isolation, illness, new friendships outside the comfort zone and the world of tattoo. This works. The rich North Shore Sydney set were a bit predictable. Upper middle class Australia with upwardly mobile kids and belief in the right of entitlement. But Marie King's (the protagonist) odyssey is written with compassion and enough of a toughness to expose the flaws in her life and world view. I admired her strength and basic decency. In our late fifties we should all remind ourselves that there is still time to embark outside of our conventions. Having lived in Sydney for four years (and being in this age range) I have also reflected on the incapacity of my peer group to form meaningful new friendships across the age/gender/cultural divides-let alone relationships. So I look forward to what next from this writer. But a last plug. If you have not read "Strange Museums", do so. It is much more than a travelogue, more a powerful meditation on art, cultural/social/moral and ethical amnesia.
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