My Brilliant Sister - Amy Brown
While Stella Miles Franklin took on the world, her beloved sister Linda led a short, domestic life as a wife, mother and sister. In a remarkable, genre-bending debut novel Amy Brown thrillingly reimagines those two lives – and her own – to explore and explode the contradictions embedded in brilliant careers and a woman’s place in the world. Sliding Doors meets Wifedom.
Stella Miles Franklin’s autobiographical novel My Brilliant Career launched one of the most famous names in Australian letters. Funny, bold, often biting about its characters, the novel and its young author had a lot in common. Miles went on to live a large, fiercely independent and bohemian life of travel, art and freedom.
Not so her beloved sister Linda. Quiet, contained, conventional, Linda was an inversion of Stella. A family peacemaker who married the man Stella would not, bore a son and died of pneumonia at 25.
In this reflective, witty and revealing novel, Amy Brown rescues Linda, setting her in counterpoint with Stella, and with the lives of two contemporary women: Ida, a writer whose writing life is on hold as she teaches and raises her young daughter; and Stella, a singer-songwriter who has sacrificed everything for a career, now forcibly put on hold. Binding the two is the novella that Linda might have written to her sister Stella – a brilliant alternative vision of My Brilliant Career.
Innovative and involving, My Brilliant Sister is an utterly convincing (and hilarious) portrait of Miles Franklin and a moving, nuanced exploration of the balance women still have to strike between careers and family lives. It gives a fresh take on one of Australia’s most celebrated writers and an insight into life now.