This stylish reissue of one of Thea Astley’s finest early novels is a classic story of small-town life. Two schoolteachers are drawn to each other by their concern for a lonely young girl. As long as Vinny Lalor could remember she had been on the fringe of things—in her family and at school. But as the final term of the year progresses, rumor and malice mount against VinnyThis stylish reissue of one of Thea Astley’s finest early novels is a classic story of small-town life. Two schoolteachers are drawn to each other by their concern for a lonely young girl. As long as Vinny Lalor could remember she had been on the fringe of things—in her family and at school. But as the final term of the year progresses, rumor and malice mount against Vinny and her two teachers, sweeping them toward scandal and, for one of them, disaster. A Descant for Gossips was Thea Astley’s second novel, released in 1960 in England and Australia. In 1983 it was adapted for television by the ABC....
|Title||:||A Descant for Gossips|
|Number of Pages||:||264 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
A Descant for Gossips Reviews
So good this book it hurts. This is my second Thea Astley novel and if I thought the Miles Franklin award winner The Slow Natives was very good this, her second novel verges on great. Written in 1960 this stunning books stands the test of time. The author’s writing shows profound cynicism from the beginning and very deep sadness at a very bitter end. The descriptive prose and the use of brilliant analogy and metaphor make Thea Astley a great writer and I for one look forward to immersing myself in her work well into the future. The themes of the book are what many should not have to relate to but just maybe could. Cruel gossip that cuts at the core of the understanding reader as they are taken on a journey of the pretentiously small town middle class. A middle class forcing their pathetic demands for conformity onto their children and their children's peers as they swill sherry at their beach houses but seem to, with consummate ease, wallow in their own barbaric self-serving pity. It was true back in the time that this book was written and can still be to this very day. Ask any one that has left a small town in Qld to escape the rigid thinking of their so called betters. In fact ask anyone anywhere about their needs to leave small minded thinking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1AJP...All around the room in a whirlYou saw dancers catch fire when you were still a girlIn a town that’s built on the whispers of tattlersBut yet to inspire a single a single dot in the Commonwealth atlasGod only knows how these things ever startAn empty plate in the place of a heartThat finds it’s way on a trail of crumbsAnd stains windowpanes on the prints of thumbsSo go take restPull the blankets up tightly with your knees to your chestA far off soundBut to such delicate ears it must seem like there’s a zoo burning downA nagging ache there must be some place betterSearched through every library book down to the last letterEven Thornfield Manor sounds enticingWith echoes down the hall and on the walls the heads of bisonSo go take restPull the blankets up tightly with your knees to your chestA schoolyard songAnd no one can blame you for getting it so horribly wrongThe old saddlers breath that always smells of leatherThe café sign letters been faded foreverIrrelevant facts from the history testerSnowed under the chalk dust of last semesterCan’t you seeWhat it’s done to your mother, what it’s done to me?All their wordsWill shatter into pieces when I lock you in my arms again
The title page of my battered 1983 copy of A Descant for Gossips tells me that it was formerly the property of schoolgirls Emma from 10NR and Marianne from 10MM – whose teachers presumably chose it as a set text because the novel shows the brutal power of teenage bullying. But while I ached with compassion for poor, plain, lonely 14-year old Vinny, it was her teacher Helen Striebel who stole my heart, and it was her sad resignation to the power of small-town gossip that resonates with me still.When kids bully, or they stand by as a supportive audience for the bully, they do it without really knowing the consequences. How can they, with their limited experience of life and immature capacities for empathy? It is up to the family and the school to teach young people about those potentially tragic consequences, and in the adolescent absence of maturity or concern for others, it’s the adults’ responsibility to monitor behaviour and provide swift, effective responses whenever bullying takes place.But adults purveying gossip as they masquerade behind self-righteousness know full well what they are doing, and they delight in it anyway. When Thea Astley (1925-2004) wrote this marvellous book way back in 1960, she would not have dreamed of today’s sordid celebrity culture and its spiteful gossip, justified by its readers as harmless fun because they think its victims are rich, offstage, and ‘asked for it’ anyway by becoming famous. What Astley did know, and has depicted in her trademark incisive style in A Descant for Gossips, is the viciousness of small-town gossip. It is a searing experience, reading this book, but if I had my way, it would be a set text for adults everywhere.To read the rest of my review please visit http://anzlitlovers.com/2015/04/13/a-...
When a books ends...and gives me a 'skin shiver'...then I know I have read genius.Australian writer, Thea Astley...not often on 'reading lists', but this one is a #MustRead.
another fabulous Australian author that needs to be read and discussed more! Thea Astley is an absolute pro: whether it's a hot summer's day, or a bored middle aged housewife, she invokes an imagery that transplants you smack bang into the middle of 1960s regional Queensland. A riveting read about the ability of gossip to be as destructive and easily spread as a wildfire, especially in a small town. All three main characters are tragic in their own way; the townspeople are vulgar in their delight for spreading gossip, and the landscape equally beautiful and stifling. Absolute must-read. Happy to lend it!
A beautifully written story set in a small Queensland town filled with small-minded people. It depicts the emotions of the various characters in exquisite detail. The similies, metaphors and other language techniques had me reading and re-reading paragraphs, just for the sheer enjoyment of the fabulous imagery it portrayed.
I'd never read A Descant for Gossips until late last year, although I'd seen the ABC adaptation in the eighties, which was made a thousand miles from the real setting in a different Australian state, which distorted the story immensely.In fact the events portrayed were set in an era I lived through, and in my backyard: what is now called, for tourism purposes The Sunshine Coast, its hinterland, and in Brisbane, hardly regional Queensland as has been suggested. Astley's descriptions of the town. the north coast and Brisbane half a century or so ago are extremely accurate and evoked strong memories of times and places in one who was there.It has one of the saddest endings to a novel I have ever read, and one consumes a few in six decades or so. Why Astley chose to end the story on such an unpleasant, shocking and rather contrived note will remain a disappointing mystery.