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The First Week

A novel

Margaret Merrilees

The First Week
Marian couldn't see the woman's eyes behind her glasses, and was filled with panic. That bosom was not for comfort. Not for Marian. She, Marian, was here so that this woman, this psychologist, could expose her failure to be a proper mother.

Her son's actions shatter Marian's life. As the days pass she is haunted by layers of grief rising like the salt of the degraded earth.

Marian's everyday heroism, her earthy humour and innate honesty, sustain her as she confronts her own tragedy and sees beyond it to other moral dilemmas of white Australian life - racism, environmental damage.

This novel has its roots in an ancient landscape - the dry farming country around Koikyennuruff (Stirling Ranges) in the south of Western Australia. It is the story of a journey from the country to the city and back again, a journey that will change Marian forever.

Winner of the Wakefield Press Unpublished Manuscript Award at Adelaide Writers' Week.

Shortlisted for the Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

Longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award for a first time published author.

Shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award celebrating books that depict 'women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society'.

Praise for The First Week:
'This moving and emotionally challenging debut novel shows an acute understanding of how prejudice against Aboriginal people influences perception of self and others ... The book could provide interesting and thought provoking stimulus for classroom discussion on racial prejudice and stereotypes.' - Margaret McEwan, SCAN online journal for educators

'Margaret Merrilees's The First Week is instantly gripping: picture-perfect in its capture of early bereavement, of distances and rapprochements between generations ... Assured and moving, this debut reveals a writer of compassion, grace and insight.' - Cath Kenneally, author of Jetty Road, Room Temperature, and Eaten Cold

'This novel is a pitch-perfect account of family and its bonds, both weak and strong, against the tough landscape of the Stirling Ranges of Western Australia.' - Judges' comments, NSW Premier's Literary Awards

'Gripping with an intriguing premise.' - Debbie Phillips, Chronicle, Toowoomba

Margaret Merrilees was born and bred in Western Australia but now lives in Adelaide. Her idiosyncratic essays, which combine memoir, history and social commentary, have appeared in Meanjin, Island, Wet Ink and Griffith Review. Margaret is also author of the on-line serial 'Adelaide Days - Tales of Rainbow Life in the Festival City'. Her website is at www.margaretmerrilees.com.

Click here to read a review of The First Week on Weekend Notes.

Click here to listen to Margaret interviewed on Radio Adelaide.

View an extract
Category Literature - Fiction
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 135 mm
ISBN 9781743052471
Extent 240 pages
Price: AU$24.95 including GST
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