Set in 1940s wartime England, the trilogy follows young Vera, who leaves her cultivated Midlands home to become a nurse in a military hospital and is catapulted into adulthood through unorthodox love entanglements with both men and women, two illegitimate children, and finally emigration to Australia, where, from her new vantage point-now a doctor and writer-she looks back on her life's journey. Combining the beauty of Virginia Woolf with the spare, heartbreaking insightfulness of Jean Rhys, the trilogy is both a literary tour de force and an accessible, universal portrait of a woman in search of sustaining love. The concluding volume, The Georges' Wife, is published here for the first time in the US. The first two volumes have long been out of print. North American readers can now experience "the most ambitious and accomplished work in Jolley's oeuvre" (J. M. Coetzee).
Elizabeth Jolley (1923-2007) is one of Australia's most celebrated writers, with a formidable international reputation, and during the 1980s and 1990s was widely acclaimed with a wide readership in the U. S. Born in England in 1923, she was brought up in a strict, German-speaking household and attended a Quaker boarding school. She became a nurse, married, and with three children moved to Western Australia in 1959. Although she wrote all her life, it was not until she was in her fifties that her books started to receive the recognition they deserved. Her work won every major award in Australia, and was several times selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Excerpts from her novels (including Cabin Fever, Book 2 in the Trilogy) were published in The New Yorker. Her novels include The Sugar Mother, Foxybaby, Miss Peabody's Inheritance, and Mr. Scobie's Riddle. Elizabeth Jolley died in 2007.