Cold Light E–pub/E–book
Parents who belonged to a strand of Australian WASP culture in which intelligence serious mindedness and ngagement with the international world were considered the compulsory heart of moral personhood I don t see this strand much in my parents generation and it s a great loss On the other hand this generation could also be terribly rigid snobby and overly focussed on outward forms in a way that served as unconscious class policing It sometimes seemed they only believed in the uality of all men who managed olive pips correctly at pre dinner nibbles I suppose we see this in Janice s alternating attraction to and disgust with EdithTwo her professional and intimate difficulties as a too smart too ambitious woman are crushingly familiar And likewise the difficulties of managing authority and aging from within a feminine persona There is something about the patriarchal rotic mystiue that relies on a difference in moral stature between the parties in the man s favour What to do as a woman when your stature is too high Can you really lastingly love someone who reuires you to pretend to be smaller than you are After the previous two books I found this one a bit uninspiring It seemed to lack some of the intrigue and xcitement of the arlier books I found a settled middle aged Edith a bit of a boreI did find the Building the Cold War ending wrapped the series up and that was one of the positives of the book Part of the Edith trilogy this volume is set in Canberra where Edith slowly comes to terms with her failed hopes and reluctant aging She and her husband Ambrose come to live in Canberra where Edith hopes to find a new career at the level of her role in The League of Nations In the meantime she works planning of the national capital and the dream that it should be a city like no other Her communist brother Frederick wants to be close but she is worried that this may put she and Ambrose in danger as communism is frowned upon in Australia There is the interesting mixture of personal and historicalvents as in Canadian Art, Volume 1 (A-F) earlier novels of the trilogy and thesevents have a uniuely Australian context which is interesting to me There is an air of personal regret for wrong choices and a sad conclusion about the best one can hope from marriage over time although there is a hint that somehow her relationship with Ambrose was one of real closeness and trust This view of life is mirrored by the clear statement that political man cannot be asked as in League of Nations to act for the good of all but the world can only Counter-Amores exist in a state of distrust within a framework of principlesxpectations ways to check and be accountable and sanctions an impressive opening and the Dancing at Armageddon ending still lingers but what about those 700 odd pages in between weight is what i think of with this book its physical mass matched by the weight of all that research which mired the narrative into a sludge that was almost inert at times i love history and i love books which use invented characters and places them in the midst of a real historical context but research needs to be worn lightly and this indeed mr moorhouse does not do oh not indeed this reader at least felt bludgeoned at times as his characters seemed merely mouthpieces for various ideas that concerned its author but despite my ualms about narrative pace and whether i wasngaged by any of the characters the central character of Edith Berry was particularly unconvincing least of all as a woman i was still impressed by the intellectual scope and ambition of this book it is so rare in australia to read a book of ideas Double Jeopardy even rarer to find a writer who dares to write one I have given this five stars because it is thend of a fabulous trilogy Well written and the background research must have been Composition and Literature enormous and so thorough Moorhouse has created a wonderful character in Edith brave and intelligent foolish and foolhardy a snob an absolute stickler for correct protocol and always wonderfully vain A literally breath takingnding to an absorbing story I can see a mini series in the making with Cate Blanchett and Guy Pearce as the older Edith and Ambrose just hope someone is inspired to make it I wish Frank Moorhouse had been teaching me Australian History in Year 12 instead of the mind numbingly boring old witch I had. Pursuing the Bloomsbury life for many years Edith finds herself fearful of being Cezanne and Provence exposed Unexpectedly in mid life she also realises that she yearns for children When she meets a man who could offer not only security but a ready made family she consults the Book of Crossroads and the answer changes the course of her life Intelligent poignant and absorbing Cold Light is a remarkable stand alone novel which can also be read as a companion to thearlier Edith novels Grand Days and Dark Palac.
Frank Moorhouse s trilogy of novels about Edith Campbell Berry is surely one of Australian literature s finest achievementsIn 1993 s Grand Days we met 26 year old Australian Edith on her way to take up a posting at the League of Nations She was bright with potential passionately dedicated to the idea of the League as a means to prevent warThe seuel Dark Palace opened in the shadow of an ailing marriage and followed the slow creep of World War II and subseuent demise of the LeagueCold Light comes full circle in ways than one as Edith returns to Australia hoping for a diplomatic appointmentAgain she is on the brink of building a new life in a new city this time a fledgling Canberra And her Dark Voices enthusiasm for the sophistication of Europe in Grand Days is matched by her disuiet at this slap dash country of such unhappy food The naive optimism of her youth is replaced by a wearyarned cynicismAnd while the first two novels followed Edith s contributions to building a new world this one follows the Contested Reproduction evolution of a new Australia as it gradually gains confidence in its own identityGrand Days plunged the reader directly into the action by introducing us to Edith s soul mate and guiding influence the sexually unconventional Ambrose Westwood as they met on the train to Geneva We got to know the characters and the dynamic between them byavesdropping on their first conversationSimilarly Cold Light opens with Edith now married to Ambrose re Divided by Color (American Politics and Political Economy Series) encountering her long lost brother Frederick a Communist organiser including us from the start in what will be the defining relationship of the novel It s a tactic that works beautifully Moorhouse has anasy way with dialogue and Edith s familiar wit contrasts perfectly with Frederick s determined solemnity immediately highlighting the distance between themFrederick is a vehicle for telling the story of Communism in Australia and for Creating Country Music exploring the way the past informs the present in unpredictable ways Edith observes that her brother s fiery humanity comes from the dinner table of their childhood Their dedication to working for a fairer world is the same though the political systems they support are very different But they are united for different reasons in fighting Menzies attempted ban of the Communist PartyOne of the great joys of the Edith trilogy is its dual focus on the domestic and the world stage and the way Moorhouse deftly dissects and relishes the politics of both spheres The novels are threaded with both personal and political intrigue including the delicate dance of attraction and of coursespionage I never thought of myself as tragic Edith reflected in the closing pages of Dark Palace but I do now Indeed in Cold Light Edith is a tragic figure a woman whose choices have led her back to an Australia that is simply not ready for her Her hopes for a position to match her talents lead instead to a glorified secretary s position where despite a kind of special status she remains maddeningly on the fringes of Blacklands eventsEdith does well for a woman of her time and place But looking back on the ambition and promise of her 26 year old self her talents are criminally wastedHer personal life too is plagued by lost opportunities At times the reader is like the audience of a pantomime No Edith Don t go through that door Her fallibility is as attractive as it is infuriating Subversively it s Edith s attempts to conform to a defined idea of womanhood that most lead her astrayCold Light is a study in apparent contradictions A character driven novel that also features a city Canberra as one of its main characters Storytelling on a grand scale that uses small details like the significance of desk management to speak volumes about its characters and setting A novel that is joyful devastating deeply touching wickedly funny and smuggles in serious political messages with thentertainmentBut of course life contains all these contradictions too And that is above all what the Edith trilogy is a nuanced portrait of changing times as reflected through the life of one woman who lives it as fully as she knows how With verve and dash and integrityIn Edith Campbell Berry Frank Moorhouse has arguably created one of the most complex and intriguing women in Australian fiction It has been a pleas. It is 1950 the League of Nations has collapsed and the newly formed United Nations has rejected all those who worked and fought for the League Edith Campbell Berry who joined the League in Geneva before the war is out of a job her vision shattered With her sexually unconventional husband Ambrose she comes back to Australia to live in CanberraEdith now has ambitions to become Australia's first female ambassador but while she waits for a Call from On High she finds herself caught up in the
Ure knowing herThis review was first publishedbroadcast on ABC Radio National s The Book Show Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse is third in his Edith trilogy comprising Grand Days and Dark Palace I read these years ago when they were first published and Evolutionary Patterns enjoyed both the strong characterisation and the piuancy of reading about a woman s career in the failed League of Nations of the interwar years Cold Light can be readntirely independently of the companion novels it follows Edith s chastened return to Australia as the Cold War tightened its grip The novel begins with Edith and her cross dressing husband Ambrose living in the limbo of a Canberra hotel while they sort out their respective careers While in Europe Edith had some trouble being taken seriously as a diplomat because of her gender it was no preparation for the indignity of being under Evolution As Entropy employed in unrepentantly sexist Australia Edith s journey in this trilogy moves from youthful optimism and a sense that all things are possible in Grand Days to disillusionment in Dark Palace Cold Light follows her middle age into a sense of loss and frustration with cramped opportunities Add to that the awkwardness of having a brother who s an active member of the Communist Party and her own desires for sexually adventurous behaviour and she has a problem indeed In some ways Cold Light reminded me of The Memory Room by Christopher Koch That was a fascinating psychological study of an Australian spy offering glimpses into the minds of people who are not what they seem It showed how the habit of necessary constraint in all relationshipsspecially personal ones is a barrier to full humanity and Moorhouse shows too how a double life of any kind impinges on natural human behaviourTo read the rest of my review please visit I Forging Gay Identities enjoyed this in parts Overall a good read and a reasonablending to the Edith trilogy Being born and bred in Canberra I particularly Forbidden History enjoyed the domestic scenes and the sections about the planning of Canberra I grew up there in the 50s so I know the placextremely well My parents would have known many of the real people in the book although they probalby didn t socialise with them as they my parents were catholics and as Edith observes on seve Last of the Edith Campbell Berry series Edith and Ambrose are back in Australia in Canberra where Edith is hoping to secure a posting with the government This proves difficult than she hopes though she is offered a position with the planning department where her input helps in the design of the new capital She and Ambrose Fiche Blian ag Fás eventually separate because of fears that his predilection for female clothing will become known Her brother Frederick and his girlfriend Janice also complicate matters because of their membership with the Communist party Edith marries again to Richard who is involved with the uranium lobby and she becomes a spokesman for the government about the potential and hazards of this new resource Eventually under Whitlam she is made anminent person and while overseas at a conference on uranium her car is attacked in Lebanon where she dies This is a fascinating novel for those interested in the history of Australia its politics the development of the national capital and for the role of women in Australia A great book Last of the Edith trilogy and a disappointing Esteem Enlivened by Desire end Having previously read both Grand Days and Dark Palace I didnjoy the story because I wanted to know what happened to Edith after her time in Europe however if I had read this as a stand alone novel I would have been very disappointed The book is Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith extremely well researched but on occasions the intrigues of the Australian Communist Party were too much Certainly the beginning and thend of the novel were the bestHaving completed the trilogy I was very disappointed when I read the postscript as this put a totally different perspective on the story and was one which I think was not necessary and is playing with my thoughts of whether Edith was a strong woman or not There s a great feeling of personal loss at the completion of a reading xperience as long and meaty as the Edith trilogy uite aside from feelings arising from the nature of this book s ndingEdith for me raises two melancholies One she reminds me of my late grand. Lanning of the national capital and the dream that it should be 'a city like no other'When her communist brother Frederick turns up out of the blue after many years of absence she becomes concerned that he may jeopardise her chances of becoming a diplomat It is not a safe time to be a communist in Australia or to be related to one but she refuses to be cowed by the anti communist sentiment sweeping the country It is also not a safe time or place to be 'a wife with a lavender husband' After.
Frank Moorhouse ↠ 8 READ
Cold Light E–pub/E–book
Moorhouse is perhaps best known for winning the 2001 Miles Franklin Literary Award for his novel Dark Palace; which together with Grand Days and Cold Light the Edith Trilogy is a fictional account of the League of Nations which trace the strange convoluted life of a young woman who enters the world of diplomacy in the 1920s through to her involvement in the newly formed International Atomic