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The Night-Side of the Country
It is the Time of the Felled Men.
M, a writer, finds her own past triggered by the constant revelations of misogyny and violence. The novel she is writing stalls. She speaks out about her past and this has consequences for her life and work – including the threat of litigation. To escape, she retreats to an island off the Scottish coast and there she encounters B – a woman who may or may not be a figment of her imagination. This encounter takes M’s novel in an entirely different direction. As B reckons with her violent political past in an organisation known as the ‘Movement’, she finds herself suffering the consequences of stepping forward and speaking out. Together they create a different story.
All the way through, the threat looms large: A man may come here. We both know this much.
The novel plays with modes of storytelling. It fuses fiction, essay and memoir to address the central questions: How do we deal with trauma and gender violence? How do we give voice to that which has been unvoiced? How do we heal?
This feminist genre-crossing novel explores the creative process as a place of refuge, ambiguity, and as a starting point for resistance. The place where the ‘You’ and the ‘I’ connect.
To The Island
He disappeared. That’s all she really knew. In search of her father Andreas, whom she has never met, Lena travels with her small son from Australia to Greece. On the island of Naxos she finds him, a wary, tormented man living in self-imposed exile and haunted by what happened to him under the rule of the Colonels in the 1960s. Slowly Lena unlocks the secrets of her father’s past, and in getting to know him begins to understand the dark realities of contemporary Greek history. To the Island is a book about the impact of larger political events on the lives of ordinary people, and how political and personal betrayals reverberate across generations, beautifully evoking the currents and cross-currents between individuals, within families and in broader society. And in Lena and Andreas’s stories, it shows how difficult it is to confront our personal and collective pasts – and the terrible consequences of being unable to do so.
Longlisted: John D. Criticos Prize 2012, London Hellenic Society
‘A wise and compassionate novel, beautifully written.’ – The Times
‘It is a tale of recovery, of people who go through very bad things and then get better, in a limited and circumscribed way. It has more in common with a novel by Jean Rhys or Ernest Hemingway than the usual story of recovery… The writing is spare, sinewy; the mood goes from dark to a little less dark.’ – The Financial Times
‘A powerful novel…there is a meditative, painterly quality to this novel, which reflect the way Delahunt, a practising Buddhist, writes and thinks’ – The Glasgow Herald
‘This is a novel of quietly intense physicality…Meaghan Delahunt explores the labyrinths of the human heart in a long awaited third novel’ – Scotland on Sunday
‘ One of the things that lifts Meaghan Delahunt’s novels above the ordinary, besides her attentive and spiky prose, is her political interest…It may always be politics, or a political cause, that anchors Delahunt’s tales, but her mapping of the political onto the personal shows that she never forgets the human faces behind the banners’ – The Scotsman
‘ In this vivid, emotional novel…Delahunt explores how politics reverberate through families, culture and time. Her powerful descriptions bring to life a period in Greece’s history when friends would betray you, torture was commonplace and information was a weapon.’ – She
Letter from Greece | GRANTA granta.com/letter-from-greece/
The Red Book
Francoise, an Australian photographer, travels to Bhopal in India, where twenty years earlier a gas leak killed thousands. There she meets Naga, a Tibetan refugee whose family died in the disaster, and Arkay, a Scottish traveller battling addiction, who has found solace in Buddhism. As a Testament to their time together Francoise assembles photographs from their lives into an album, the “Red Book”. The photographs tell their stories of love struggle and transformation – pointing to the people they have been and who they will become.
Shortlisted: Saltire Book of the Year 2008, Scottish Fiction Book of the Year 2009, Claire Maclean Prize for Fiction, 2009
‘This colourful account of life in India is a joy … It’s finely wrought and expansive fiction that lingers’ – Herald
‘There is much rich material here … the story of Francoise’s love for Arkay, the monk … is written with intensity and powerful despair’ – The Guardian
‘[An] exploration of the human desire to shed past lives … Vivid, wise, ambitious and beautiful’ – The List
‘Blessed with ambition and talent enough to realise it, The Red Book is a model of what a globalised imagination can do’ – Sunday Herald
In The Blue House
‘The blue rectangle which enclosed me for a time and made me feel safe. The blue embrace…For six weeks, at the age of fifty-nine, one last dance with youth. It stays with me, the memory of her, and the view from that room in her house.’ Hounded from country to country by Stalin’s agents, Leon Trotsky finally finds refuge in Mexico as the guest of the artist Diego Rivera and his beautiful wife Frida Kahlo. But the extraordinary years spent in Frida’s beloved family home, The Blue House, prove also to be his last. The passions and betrayals of Trotsky’s final years in Mexico are unravelled, revealing too a panorama of Russian history during the first half of the twentieth century. As personal and confiding as a whisper In The Blue House reverberates with the momentous words and voices of history.
Winner: Saltire First Book Award 2001, Regional Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book 2002, A Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year 2002
Longlisted: The Orange Prize for Fiction 2002
Shortlisted: Christina Stead Prize 2002
‘Moves gracefully through the private histories of love, despair and deception…brimming with energy and conviction’ – Literary Review
‘The central imagined relationship, between Trotsky and Kahlo is conveyed with power and intimacy…but In the Blue House is more than an imaginary love affair, it also records the relationship between a young Australian political acrivist and her Party figurehead, more than fifty years after his death’ – The Scotsman
‘Reading this novel is like peering into a kaleidoscope…the writing is vibrant and vivid…illuminated by flashes of brilliance’ – Sunday Telegraph
‘Brilliantly reconstructs the atmosphere of Trotsky’s house, his circle of friends and, in particular, the place of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in his entourage…compelling’ – Sunday Business Post
The Artist and Nationality
‘The Artist and Nationality’ sees Saltire Award winner Meaghan Delahunt reflect on her own sense of nationality and what that may mean for the artist. The essay was commissioned by The Saltire Society with cover art by renowned Scottish artist Alasdair Gray. It is available in a limited edition of 500 copies. For further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘The launch of the new Saltire Series of pamphlets asserts our proper position as a platform for free and independent thinking on the issues that matter most to Scotland today. Meaghan Delahunt’s powerful, moving and thoughtful essay embraces the personal and political and helps us better understand the complexity of national identity for the artist.’ – Jim Tough, Executive Director, The Saltire Society.
Now available for free download from The Saltire Society:
Greta Garbo’s Feet & Other Stories
‘…Delahunt’s writing has a fine sense of irony, the mood is often dark and the subject matter disturbing, but her short stories reveal her capacity for comic writing, sharp dialogue and stinging, almost buried emotionality.’ – From A Distant Shore: Australian Writers In Britain 1820-2012
A selection of Meaghan Delahunt’s published and broadcast short stories brought together for the first time in one volume. Meaghan’s short story collection; ‘Greta Garbo’s Feet & Other Stories’( Word Power Women) has just been longlisted for the 2016 Edgehill Short Story Prize.
The title story Greta Garbo’s Feet won the 1997 Flamingo/HQ National Australian Short Story Prize. Longlisted for the 2016 Edgehill Short Story Prize.
Recent interviews & reviews
A review of To the Island on ABC, Radio National Australia, 2011: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bookshow/review-to-the-island-by-meaghan-delahunt/3588182
Writers’ Rooms, ABC, Radio National, 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bookshow/writers-rooms-meaghan-delahunt/3100330