A Hundred Small Lessons
By Ashley Hay
From the author of the highly acclaimed The Railwayman's Wife comes an emotionally resonant and profound new novel of two families, interconnected through the house that bears witness to their lives.
'...a rich dual character study that spans generations.' Publishers Weekly
When Elsie Gormley leaves the Brisbane house in which she has lived for more than sixty years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, eager to establish their new life. As they settle in, Lucy and her husband Ben struggle to navigate their transformation from adventurous lovers to new parents, taking comfort in memories of their vibrant past as they begin to unearth who their future selves might be. But the house has secrets of its own, and the rooms seem to share recollections of Elsie's life with Lucy.
In her nearby nursing home, Elsie traces the span of her life-the moments she can't bear to let go and the places to which she dreams of returning. Her beloved former house is at the heart of her memories of marriage, motherhood, love, and death, and the boundary between present and past becomes increasingly porous for both her and Lucy.
Over the course of one hot Brisbane summer, two families' stories intersect in sudden and unexpected ways. Through the richly intertwined narratives of two ordinary, extraordinary women, Ashley Hay uses her lyrical prose, poetic dialogue, and stunning imagery to weave an intricate, bighearted story of what it is to be human.
Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds, The Railwayman's Wife and A Hundred Small Lessons.
The Railwayman's Wife was honoured with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia.
- Other details
- Publication date:
28 Nov 2017
- Page count:
Hay's engaging third novel explores the lives of two women connected by a house. In Brisbane, Australia, Lucy Kiss; her husband, Ben; and their young son, Tom, have just moved into the home where Elsie Gormley lived for more than 60 years. Hay's perceptive prose illuminates both Elsie's and Lucy's lives, resulting in a rich dual character study that spans generations. — Publishers Weekly
Readers who loved the quiet introspection of Anita Shreve's The Pilot's Wife and Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge will enjoy the detailed emotional journeys of Hay's characters. Their stories will linger. — Library Journal
Hay renders the small details of an undramatic, decent life with tenderness that is touching and compelling... a measured piece of writing that works carefully to create pensive and evocative images of time and place and people. — Katherine Gillespie, The Australian
Ashley Hay explores the ways in which we inhabit spaces: building homes and filling them with our possessions, dreams, regrets, fears and secrets. I was deeply touched by this graceful novel, with its unflinching approach to reality and its gentle undercurrents of sadness, nostalgia and hope. It is a highly recommended read for fans of literary fiction and Hay's own award-winning The Railwayman's Wife. — Books+Publishing
A Hundred Small Lessons holds powerful truths, simply told ... There is no definitive moment; instead, ideas are layered, one small action at a time, until the whole is revealed. Only then can we see the intricacy of the story, in which the river's flowing quality is present within each sentence, the moods and tides reflective of the transformative power of parenthood — Tessa Lunney, Australian Book Review
With a lovely attention to the detail of things and feelings, Hay enlists our concern for her characters and an appreciation for the revealing echoes they call up in our own lives — Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser