"She struggled to get women the vote. Her son was Australia's most famous writer. They drove each other crazy." Meticulously researched big Aussie historical novel that takes the lid off the world of Louisa Lawson and Henry Lawson and their circle of radical friends: revolution, poverty, love affairs, madness, drunkenness, sedition, terrorism, passionate hopes, and friendships with some of Australia's most remarkable people. Much historical info here is not in their biographies. "Good stuff – experientially, politically, anecdotally, stylistically, narratively, romantically, alcoholically. What more can one say?" -- Douglas Houston, PhD, co-editor of the Oxford 'Good Fiction Guide'.
"Aussie History the World Should Be Reading" Henry Lawson may be on an Australian $10 banknote, but how many people really know why? This book will tell you, with a thoroughness rarely found in history novels, what both Henry and his mother, Louisa, did to merit the accolades that later years have shown they richly deserved. Written with wit and a charming style, Faces in the Street brings to life the people and happenings of the late 1800s and early 1900s, not only in Australia, but unveils how these events shaped what was happening in the rest of the world. A lovely book full of character - and characters - for readers on any continent. As an American, I thoroughly enjoyed this read! I can only hope the author is planning another book so I'll have something really interesting from which to learn and in which I can take great pleasure!!!
"Time Travelling" Reading the online preview, I was so engrossed in following a rat along a 19th century Aussie alleyway, I was shocked to discover I had to use a 21st century mouse to turn the page. I've been a Pip Wilson Almanac reader for years, and can't wait to spend an evening with him in a full-length narrative. I recommend you plan to do the same. Anne Therese Margis Nullifidian
"Poets and politics 'downunder'" For a non-Australian like me, "Faces" ticked many boxes: it was entertaining, funny, sad, amazing, and informative. I hadn't done much history at school (my history teacher at second level was truly uninspiring) and I certainly hadn't learned much about Australia. The history I did learn about my own country was typically a list of battles lost and won, kings, queens, leaders of armies and of rebellions. But no social history, no understanding of ordinary people's lives, how they made their livings or engaged with the politics of the day. If someone had handed me a "Faces in the Street" - but written about my own country - I'd have gobbled it up back then. Pip Wilson's novel gave me that and more about Australia. It is carefully researched and places the story within a framework of national and international events of the time. "Faces" is set in the late 19th century and takes us from the days of the Gold Rush... More > to when the city of Sydney had twice the population of San Francisco. It is replete with stories of alcoholism, love and loss, terrorism, mental illness, wonky marriages, unemployment, hardship, and battles for justice. Henry Lawson is Australia's most famous poet and author, but his mother was also well-known as an activist in the struggle for women's rights. She is well named the "Mother of Women's Suffrage" in a country that first allowed women to vote. She and Henry had a colourful circle of friends (not to mention highly 'individual' family members), some lowly, some famous, some notorious. Radicals and bohemians, politicians, journalists, road sweepers and carriage makers. And Henry was not the only one who had a love affair with the booze. Some of the scenes in Parliament in those days (all true) are astonishing but hilarious. The book is often amusing and often sad. It's a great read. The style is easy, laid back, engaging. If Henry had succeeded in marrying the first woman he asked, would his life have been very different? We sympathize with his difficulties, but become frustrated by his inability to manage his life. I wanted to mother him one minute and shake him the next. He was a tormented but loveable individual who (I gather) left a large footprint in the hearts of Australians. He left one in mine too. [The book has glossary of about 900 Australian words and brief biographies of about 200 real people who appear in the novel or are mentioned in it. Valuable resources which serve beyond the reading of the novel.]< Less
"How to write interesting history." I hate history. Always have. Don't like biographies, never have. But i read this piece about one of our countries greatest writers and was engrossed. Pip holds true to the era, opens some doors and adds to the mystery that is the Lawson phenomenon. And as there seems to be a 'Henry revival' thing happening at the moment, what better time for this book to be released. Congratulations Pip on a job well done.
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