The Other Side of the World

The Other Side of the WorldThe Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

It is a mere slip of a book at 237 pages, but it is meaty and requires of the reader a commitment to engage with the piece.
It is the story of Charlotte and Henry who immigrate with their two babies from England to Australia in the mid 1960’s. It is a tale of a woman struggling with the loss of herself into parenthood and who suffers with post natal depression. This is a beautifully written book that spans several years and the struggle of a young couple trying to find a place where they both belong. It is told in an omnipresent voice; we are privy to both Henry’s and Charlotte’s inner thoughts and feelings.
This book watches the slow descent into depression that leads to a character making a life altering course of action. This is not an easy book to read. Charlotte isn’t a particularly nice character, and she triggers pity, anger, and, to some respect a kind of understanding of her actions in the midst of misery. Mostly it triggers confusion for her deeds and choices. We also see the inner personal struggle for Henry, of Indian extraction as he struggles to find a place where he feels he is accepted and belongs. It is a painful look at the division of duties in the 60’s when the sexual liberation was just beginning but choice and freedom came too late for many. It looks unflinchingly from an insiders point of view being lost to self and feeling little more than a slave to conventions.

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