Publishers and Republishers of Remarkable Original Fiction
|Extent: 252 pages
||Price: £10.95 $21.50
|Format: Paperback 6" x 9"
||Publication: Spring 2008
||Read an Extract
Gee, an artist, is adrift: her marriage has been a sham and a shambles for years; now, she can no longer paint. As she trails through memories in a desperate search for some sense and a centre to her existence, Gee recalls her great-grandmother, Margaret Esther – known in the family as Grandma McIvor.
Gee’s late father always said Grandma McIvor was a po-faced, puritanical, self-righteous old baggage. But her aged Aunt Mildred, still hanging cheerily onto life on her farm in New Zealand, remembers otherwise. Even more intriguing: ‘There were things in Grandma McIvor’s background we were never told
. If we asked too much we were hushed up,’ she writes to Gee – whose energies suddenly now have a focus. As it turns out, Grandma had good and startling reasons for keeping aspects of her life very quiet indeed.
As she unravels the mystery of Grandma McIvor’s life and character, Gee’s own past and her present confusions begin to disentangle: especially the monstrous enigma that was her father, and the devastation he wrought on his family. Past and present echo and mirror one another as we follow a labyrinthine family history that bristles with cruelty, madness, and occasional hilarity, but is ultimately illuminated with its own kind of redemption.
Shelagh Meyer was born in Hampshire but, in the company of two sisters, a brother, and assorted cats, dogs, rabbits, chickens and the occasional pig, was brought up in at least six counties of England—ranging from Lancashire to Dorset—and was also educated somewhat peripatetically, at as many schools, of varying effectiveness.
She now lives mainly in Westminster, London, with her husband, an artist; they also spend stretches of each year in Suffolk and Greece.
Her novel No End to Yesterday
won a Whitbread prize in 1977. The story was based on her mother’s extraordinary upbringing and early adulthood in the 1920s and ’30s. Written under the name Shelagh Macdonald, it is now being republished by FireCrest as a companion volume to The Merrythought