Is She Still Alive?

It had become apparent to Tessa that long-familiar stories about some of the older women in her family, plus close observation of her own peer group now in their sixties, could provide "triggers" for some fascinating short fiction, and that these thematically linked stories might form a satisfying collection.
Is_She_Still_Ali_497d9fa616896.jpgIs_She_Still_Ali_497d9fa616896.jpg
Description

Is She Still Alive?

By Tessa Duder

ISBN: 9781869507107

RRP $34.99

About the Author

Tessa Duder needs no introduction.  With a literary career spanning 28 years, she is one of HarperCollins' most acclaimed authors.  Internationally known for her award-winning children's novels, including Night Race to Kawau, and the Alex and Tiggie Tompson series.  Her adult work includes a travel book about searching for her Italian ancestors and an acclaimed portrait of Margaret Mahy.  She has also edited several bestselling collection of maritime non-fiction.

Synopsis

Tessa began to write Is She Still Alive? her first collection of short stories for adults in 2003 while living for six months in Menton, France, for the prestigious Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellowship for that year.  'This seemed a happily appropriate place to experiment with a genre new to me - short stories for an adult readership - while also working on and adult novel,' she says.

It had become apparent to Tessa that long-familiar stories about some of the older women in her family, plus close observation of her own peer group now in their sixties, could provide "triggers" for some fascinating short fiction, and that these thematically linked stories might form a satisfying collection.  However, she firmly resists suggestions that the narratives in any way provide autobiographical or recognisable portraits.  'The fun of fiction is taking a small incident or quirk of character, and creating something quite new.'

Not all the stories in Is She Still Alive? have female narrators, or are written from a female protagonist point of view.  Three have male narrators or are told from a male point of view.  Two are of novella length, and most are what she describes as 'rather unfashionably longer than is currently usual.  As a long-time admirer of Somerset Maugham and Owen Marshall, I seem to like the longer form."

Set variously in New Zealand and Europe, the stories have parallels with the 20th century female experience in other Western countries, particularly those with a colonial past.  They aim to portray a range of experiences of mainly middle-class women, mostly born into the era around the Second World War and the 20 years after.

'I believe the 13 stories together form a powerful portrait of this generation's personal/family life and careers,' says Tessa.  "I'd like to think the stories and characters hit a chord.  Of course I'd be equally hoping that men choose to read the stories for pleasure and, possibly enlightenment!'

Review

Whilst the cover claims this collection of short stories is for 'women of a certain age', women of all ages will find them entertaining.  They are humorous and poignant tales about the sorrows and pleasures of older women.

The sense of loss is a recurring theme throughout the 13 stories in Is She Still Alive?  However, the grief is tempered with humour and the reader is left empowered by the strength of the women portrayed within.

The characters Tessa has created are witty and wise and will undoubtedly remind you of women in your life.  Their hopes, dreams, tragedies and triumphs will strike a chord with women of all ages and provide some great insight to their male counterparts.

 

Reviewed by: Franciska

 

Buy Now Buy Now Banner 120X90

Reviews

There are yet no reviews for this product.