The Eulogy - Jackie Bailey
The Eulogy is a literary page-turner from new Australian voice Jackie Bailey - a story about family, death and grief that is full of love, humour and life.
It's winter in Logan, south-east Queensland, and still warm enough to sleep in a car at night if you have nowhere else to go. But Kathy can't sleep. Her husband is on her blocked caller list and she's running from a kidnapping charge, a Tupperware container of 300 sleeping pills in her glovebox. She has driven from Sydney to plan a funeral with her five surviving siblings (most of whom she hardly speaks to) because their sister Annie is finally, blessedly, inconceivably dead from the brain tumour she was diagnosed with twenty-five years ago, the year everything changed.
Kathy wonders - she has always wondered - did Annie get sick to protect her? And if so, from what?
In writing Annie's eulogy, Kathy attempts to understand the tangled story of the Bradley family: from their mother's childhood during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War Two and their father's experiences in the Malayan conflict and the Vietnam War, to Annie's cancer and disability, and the events that have shaped the person that Kathy is today. Ultimately, Kathy needs Annie to help her decide whether she will allow herself to love and be loved.
Jackie Bailey's autofiction novel is an astounding debut, deftly weaving together storylines and relationships over decades, and will stay with readers long after the last page.