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Julia Leigh

Teoksen Disquiet tekijä

10 teosta 709 jäsentä 57 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Julia Leigh was born in 1970 in Sydney, Australia. She is a graduate of the University of Sydney in philosophy and law. She was admitted to the NSW Supreme Court as a Legal Practitioner and worked as a legal advisor at the Australian Society of Authors. In 2009 she earned a PhD in English from the näytä lisää University of Adelaide and served as Adjunct Associate Professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of The Hunter (made in to a feature film in 2011) and Disquiet. Also in 2011 she wrote and directed the film Sleeping Beauty. Her memoir Avalanche was released in 2016. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän

Includes the name: Leigh Julia

Image credit: Noah Sheldon

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Olivia married her husband and left her family against her mother's wishes. Now, more than a decade later, she's back with a broken arm and two children in tow. Unfortunately, it's not exactly the best time to be coming back to the family. Olivia's brother Marcus and his wife Sophie arrive home shortly after Olivia does, but not with the happy, healthy baby they expected. Sophie isn't handling her stillborn baby well, and for some reason the doctors thought it was a good idea to let her take the baby's corpse home with her. The idea is that she'll get some time with it before the funeral, at which point it will be buried and life will go on. Sure.

I don't understand what I was supposed to get out of this, besides the fact that no one in this family could properly communicate with each other. I'd have cheered at the ending, except that everything that happened then should have happened way earlier. Preferably before the baby's corpse started decomposing.

Overall, this was a frustrating and weird read about people who generally made my skin crawl, and not in an entertaining or even terribly interesting way.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
… (lisätietoja)
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Familiar_Diversions | 43 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 18, 2024 |
Disturbing. Themes of infant loss and delusions. Sophie is a nightmare woman. The children were very well written. I like these points because they fuel the uneasiness of the narrative.
I didn't like how inconclusive everything was. There were too many little things being touched on once and then forgotten or left unexplored. It was like someone was trying to shove as many triggers into my face without any real purpose. The ending was also really lackluster/rushed. Not my favorite.
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zozopuff | 43 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 19, 2022 |
Disquiet by Julia Leigh is a creepy novella. It’s a disjointed, disconnected story about people who are disconnect from one another as well as themselves. It’s a story full of symbolism and foreshadowing (of a sort).

It’s one of those books that cause people to say Leigh is a “writer’s writer.” Toni Morrison, J.M. Coetzee, and Don DeLillo have blurbs on the book, so there you have it.

I came across Disquiet on my local library shelves while browsing for thin books to consider for Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. When I saw that Leigh is Australian it was a definite book to check out to read for the Australian Woman Writers Challenge (see #AAWW2014 if you’re on Twitter).

***some spoilers below***

The story begins with Olivia returning to her mother’s house in rural France with her two children in tow, a boy and a girl, Andrew and Lucy. The boy bloodies himself following his mother’s instruction to kick down an old secret garden door to get onto the estate. Andrew repeatedly throws his body against the door, "he made himself brutal" for his mother.

Mother is obviously wealthy. She is not a warm French mother, but cold and distant. Olivia is fleeing from her abusive Australian husband whom she still loves, but he obviously crossed a line in her mind because after the last beating not only did he bruise her body, he broke her arm.

The estate has three house servants who take care of the family, one who’s been with them forever,
two who are young twin sisters. There are also gardeners who maintain the grounds. The house itself is a huge structure complete with secret passageways that are no longer in use and taken over by spider webs. It’s like a Gothic version of Downton Abbey set in contemporary France.

The same afternoon of Olivia's homecoming, her brother and his wife, Marcus and Sophie, who live with Mother, are due home any minute with their first born. They’ve had a hard time conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy. Alas, they come home with a stillborn who they’ve named Alice. Sophie won’t let the infant go and resists burial for way too long claiming they want to get to know Alice. No one can convince her to bury the body—not her husband, not her mother-in-law, not the church, not the government. But she’s named after the traditional figure of Wisdom, Sophia, so there’s some rich, subtext to parse out here in the context of this uptight, dysfunctional family.

Meanwhile, Marcus is carrying on his affair with another woman over his cellphone and even has a bit of phone sex while Andrew watches from the boat house.

I kept expecting someone to die (in addition to Alice), someone to murder someone, someone to go off the deep end.

In the end, the character who resonated with me the most is the son, Andrew. He longs to get back to his father in Sydney and plots an escape, taking his sister along. It fails and he ends up saving his sister's and his mother's lives. His story seems a bit like Unhealthy Gender Stereotype Conditioning 101: rip a boy away from his abusive father, trap him in an atmosphere of smothering repression, don't give him any means of communication with his dad, but then have him do your dirty work. He thinks his mother is beautiful now, but you can feel the day coming when he'll turn on his mother in ways much bigger than average teenage independence. Perhaps he'll become an abusive husband or the guy who masturbates on the cell phone in his mom's backyard where he still lives with his emotionally disturbed wife. But maybe not. He doesn't know it yet, but he'll soon be off to boarding school, and perhaps that'll save him from this loveless family.

It's not a pretty world that Leigh creates, but if feels real. Disquiet is some great writing that keeps you guessing and wondering and filling in the gaps.
… (lisätietoja)
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Chris.Wolak | 43 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 13, 2022 |
Een boek over afscheid nemen dus, zoals de titel zegt: afscheid van familie, van je eigen verleden, van dierbaren. Het is een moeizaam proces dat ieder voor zich moet doormaken, op hun eigen manier. Familiebanden maken het niet noodzakelijk gemakkelijker. De personages laten zich maar moeizaam kennen. Een bewuste truc van Leigh, die haar hoofdpersonen bijna systematisch beschrijft als 'de vrouw', 'de jongen' en 'het meisje'. Afstandelijk dus, maar daardoor nog meer intens en unheimlich.
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brver | 43 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 21, 2022 |



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