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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9781742755342
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $32.99

The Meaning Of Grace




The new novel from the Miles Franklin shortlisted author of the much-loved The Book of Emmett. Shortlisted for The Age Fiction prize and the Colin Roderick Prize



The new novel from the Miles Franklin shortlisted author of the much-loved The Book of Emmett. Shortlisted for The Age Fiction prize and the Colin Roderick Prize

'Mum is the reference point. If you ever get confused about anything, there she is, waiting with all her knowledge of you.'
Grace Fisher, mother of three, one day decides her husband is a sore disappointment and moves the family from Melbourne to a coastal village in Victoria. But Ian's slow dissolution on the couch masked a depression that will harrow him into an early grave, leaving the kids with a lifetime of questioning: what happened to their father; how did he get so sad? Between their father's demise and Grace's hardscrabble existence working at a local bakery, each child is left to find meaning on their own. Edie, the eldest child, locks herself into a romantic ideal so lofty that it can't help but fail. The middle child, Juliet, struts and careens through life, filling it only with what she can seduce, steal and manipulate. Sibling rivalry between sisters proves the slowest and fiercest of burns. Love comes easily for Ted, the youngest, but when his wife abandons him to raise two daughters on his own, the perils of fatherhood are laid bare.
When Grace, the distant, imperfect hub of the family, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, the siblings are forced to confront each other as adults, and come to understand their mother.
Written with her hallmark warmth, humour and deftness of observation, Deborah Forster's follow-up novel to the Miles Franklin shortlisted The Book of Emmett is a moving story of the loves and rivalries that burn at the heart of every family, and the meaning that comes from it.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9781742755342
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Deborah Forster

Deborah Forster grew up in Footscray, Melbourne. She worked as a staff and freelance journalist for many years and was a This Life columnist on The Age and The Sunday Age. Deborah Foster is married to Alan Kohler and they have three children. Her novels include the Miles Franklin shortlisted The Book of Emmett and The Meaning of Grace, shortlisted for the Age Fiction Book of the Year,

Also by Deborah Forster

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Praise for The Meaning Of Grace

“The quiet beauty of this novel is that it works in a magical hum of its own because of Forster's steady and infinite respect for the value of human life and her determination to tell the truth about some mysterious things that are shockingly simple; starting with the immutable force of love between a woman and her children.”

Helen Elliot, The Age

“It is Forster's ability to recount the characters' experiences with integrity and humour in her distinctive voice that makes this book such a fascinating insight into many people's family lives.”

Emily Harms, Readings Monthly

“Knotting and unravelling the twisted threads that repel and attract family members to each other, Forster tells a compelling story of family dynamics and sibling rivalry.”

Fran Metcalf, Courier Mail

“[Forster] is finally living the dream and has followed her successful debut novel with a thought-provoking and emotionally-charged book in Grace.”

Lisa Wachsmuth, Illawarra Mercury

“...Although this is a page turner...this is no pot boiler. Forster has a lyrical touch that she brings to each chapter.”

Samantha Selinger-Morris, Sun Herald, Sydney

“Forster is an astute analyst of the unspoken pain within families, and the ways silence exacerbates suffering.”

Felicity Plunkett, The Canberra Times

“...Forster has a beautiful turn of phrase.”

Joanne Sim, Melbourne Weekly

“This is a novel of ordinary but extraordinary lives. Grace leaves her husband and takes her three children to live by the sea. She takes responsibility for all of them by this defining act. The children grow up with their single parent, feuding yet loving, self-reliant yet needy. They take different directions in adulthood but are drawn back together by Grace's terminal illness. The writing is lucid, with precise and memorable images. It is a novel built on acute character observation, told with great beauty and that rare thing in fiction: genuine poignancy.”

The Age Book of the Year judges, The Age


Awards & Recognition

  • The Age Book of the Year Award

    Shortlisted • 2012 • The Age Book of the Year Award

  • Colin Roderick Award

    Shortlisted • 2013 • Colin Roderick Award


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