The Women in Black
Madeleine St John weaves a fairytale which illuminates the extraordinariness of ordinary lives.
Why read it?
2 authors picked The Women in Black as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Set in a mid-century department store, this wonderful short novel details life in a mid-20th-century frock department through the eyes of the women who worked there.
It is a book that highlights the importance of clothing in women’s lives at that time and the very specific kinds of garments. The tale follows Lisa as the news sales assistant in Cocktail Frocks and the friends she makes along the way. It is a sharply observed, funny, and tender story bringing the old department store alive.
This sweet and sharp coming-of-age tale is set in my hometown, Sydney, in the 1950s. It centres on book-loving young poet, Lisa, who takes a summer job in the fancy frock section of a department store while waiting to find out if she’s made it into university. When I first read this novel, I felt I’d stepped right into Lisa’s shoes, finding my confidence all over again as she does, leaving the suburbs for the city. The Women in Black is a sequin-studded exploration of the importance of stories to us all – and especially for post-war migrants making new…
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