From the author of the bestselling memoir North of Normal comes the harrowing story of a past that won’t let go, and one woman’s attempt to put her life back together after everything falls apart
In her bestselling memoir North of Normal, Cea wrote with grace about her unconventional childhood—her early years living in a tipi in Alberta with her pot-smoking, free-loving counterculture family. But her struggles do not end when she leaves her family at the age of thirteen to become a model. Honest and daring, Nearly Normal reveals the many ways that Cea’s unconventional childhood continues to reverberate through the years.
At the age of thirty-seven, Cea has built a life that looks like the normal one she craved as a child—husband, young son, beautiful house, enviable career. But her carefully art-directed world is about to crumble around her. As she confronts the death of her still-young mother, the disintegration of her second marriage and the demise of her business, all within a few months, she finally faces the need to look at her past to make sense of her present.
The Globe and Mail says “Person’s best gifts as a writer are her memory, her knack for knowing when to dig down into the finer details of a scene, and when to pull back.” Nearly Normal chronicles the many stories Cea left untold but that needed telling. Settled into a new and much happier life after the release of her first book, she is nonetheless compelled to continue searching for answers about her enigmatic family. She discovers the value in the lessons they taught her, and the power of taking responsibility for her own choices.
Born in Australia in 1949, author Nadia Wheatley grew up with a sense of the mystery of her parents’ marriage. Caught in the crossfire between an independent woman and a controlling man, the child became a player in the deadly game. Was she her mother’s daughter, or her father’s creature?
After her mother’s death, the ten-year-old began writing down the stories her mother had told her—of a Cinderella-like childhood, followed by an escape into a career as an army nurse in Palestine and Greece, and as an aid-worker in the refugee camps of post-war Germany. Some fifty years later, the finished memoir is not only a loving tribute but an investigation of the bewildering processes of memory itself.
Nadia Wheatley is an Australian writer whose publications range from biography and history to fiction and picture books. Her biography The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift was the Age Book of the Year, Non-fiction, and is the only biography to have won the Australian History Prize, NSW Premier's History Awards.
‘One of the greatest Australian biographies...a work which never confuses itself with fiction but which has the same readability and flair and command of tempo. It’s a hell of a story.’ Peter Craven, Sydney Morning Herald on The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift.
‘Outstanding...a rare feat in Australian literary biography.’ Weekend Australian on The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift
‘An important addition to the history of Australian social life and a vivid insight into how individual people can be controlled by repressive social attitudes. Wheatley reminds us of the difference between how family life is supposed to be and how it is actually experienced.’ Inside Story
‘In a moving and beautifully written memoir, Wheatley brings to life her mother’s adventures...My bet is that this fascinating book will prove to be an award-winner. Highly recommended.’ Courier-Mail
‘[Her] Mother’s Daughter is one of the most devastating examples of gaslighting that I have ever read. It is not only a beautiful rendering of an “ordinary” life, it is also a significant social history of wartime Europe and post-war Australia.’ Australian
‘Her Mother's Daughter is a great read for two reasons. Firstly, it provides a thoughtful, authentic - sometimes exciting, sometimes disturbing - social history of the times. And secondly, with Wheatley's ability to write engaging narratives, it makes for engrossing, moving, provocative reading. I do recommend it.’ Whispering Gums
#1 New York Times Instant Bestseller (February 2018)
A People “Book of the Week”
Buzzfeed’s “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction Reads of 2018”
Seattle Times’s “Books to Look Forward to in 2018”
Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.
In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.