Feather Man

Overview

"In this beautifully written and disturbing Australian coming-of-age novel, McMaster tells the story of Sooky, who struggles to overcome her difficult childhood, the effects of which are powerfully portrayed as she moves from relationship to relationship and from Brisbane to London."—Boston Globe

“I think it’s quite wonderful. Beautifully written. Engrossing and utterly involving and it does something new.”—Maureen Freely

"Let me say that Rhyll McMaster is an extraordinary writer. Her prose is dazzling, poetic ...

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Overview

"In this beautifully written and disturbing Australian coming-of-age novel, McMaster tells the story of Sooky, who struggles to overcome her difficult childhood, the effects of which are powerfully portrayed as she moves from relationship to relationship and from Brisbane to London."—Boston Globe

“I think it’s quite wonderful. Beautifully written. Engrossing and utterly involving and it does something new.”—Maureen Freely

"Let me say that Rhyll McMaster is an extraordinary writer. Her prose is dazzling, poetic and thought-provoking, and this is literary fiction at its best... I have likened Rhyll McMaster to Margaret Atwood. Atwood is brilliant, but in my view McMaster is even better. Feather Man has quite rightly won literary prizes in Australia and my money is on Feather Man making the Booker Prize longlist here." —Vulpes Libris

Winner of the Barbara Jefferis Award 2008

Winner of the Glenda Adams Award for New Writing 2008

Set in Brisbane during the stultifying 1950s and moving to grubby London in the 1970s, Feather Man is about Sooky who, ignored and misunderstood by her parents, is encouraged to make herself scarce and visit Lionel, their elderly next door neighbor.

The early pages of Feather Man are full of images of suburban life in Brisbane in the 1950s. The Thor washing machine thunders away. A kookaburra is perched on the oven door. Sooky’s mother is often chained to the treadmill of her sewing machine. The novel follows Sooky through four relationships with men and her entry into the art world, but the truth is, she is never able to survive unless a relationship is providing the context, however bad it may be.

My hands still gripped his shoulders. I felt the bat wings of hair that ran across his back. He pushed his face close to mine. I looked at his eyes. They were remarkable, glassy, with yellow rays, but now they had a white glare in them, as if I was looking up close into the tunnel of a turned-on torch.
‘Whose girl are you?’ He gave my shoulders a shake.
‘I’m nobody’s girl. I’m me.’

Rhyll McMaster, born in 1947, started writing poetry whilst a child. Washing the Money won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the Grace Leven Prize. Feather Man is her first novel.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714531489
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,486,032
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Rhyll McMaster, born 1947, started writing poetry whilst a child. Washing the Money won the Victorian Premier's Prize and the Grace Leven Prize. Her poems have been broadcast on national radio and television, in Australia, but Feather Man is her first novel.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A gritty, touching story

    Rhyll McMaster uses her considerable poet's skills to bring Sooky's inner world to life. Sooky's imagination is lush and alive even as the adults in her life are dreary, repressive, and dangerous. The graphic event that opens the book may be offputting but stick with Sooky as she grows up - her transition from child to artist is rewarding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2008

    somewhat depressing character study

    In 1958 Brisbane, while her father abuses her mother, their preadolescent daughter Sooky is mostly ignored by them except when they encourage her to hang elsewhere. She spends a lot time with her almost thirtyish neighbor Lionel who constantly orders her to play with his hardened Willie.------- Several years later her father leaves taking the music with him, but leaving behind the Tennessee Waltz and a distraught mother. In London Sooky has moved on to a new stud with football player Peter using an engagement ring to order her to play with his English Willie. Almost at the same time Lionel¿s son Redmond manipulates Sooky the artist to do what he wants from her she knows no other way to live.--------------- Finally tired of being used, abused, and discarded, Sooky visits a gallery that she thinks Redmond once took her to. There she meets an older patron of the arts Paul. He mentors her but he cleverly maneuvers her into doing what he believes is good for her.-------------- In this deep somewhat depressing character study, the child makes the adult as Sooky learns as a youngster from observing the relationship between her parents and from the way Lionel sexually assaults her that men dominate women. Each of the four men (five counting her father) expects to control her though they use subtly different approaches to achieve their objective of a submissive Sooky. Part of that early life lesson is for her to never be happy for herself as she can only be happy by pleasing the dominant male in her life. Rhyll McMaster paints a portrait of a female who has spent her life under the cruel thumbs of abusers.-------------------------- Harriet Klausner

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