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  • Published: 1 December 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742752273
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $22.99

When It Rains




The heart-wrenching but triumphant story of rebuilding a life and a family

'My body, suddenly, carries two stories of loss ... One is easy for people to recognise. My mother died of cancer. I watched her age twenty-five years in eight weeks ... My other story marks me as different. It is more silent and more savage, it is not pure and no one knows how to approach it. Somewhere I lost my husband.'

When Maggie's vibrant young husband, father to a five-year-old daughter and an unborn son, dies tragically, Maggie is left widowed and due to give birth three months later to their second child. Then her beloved mother, backbone of the family, mother to three children, grandmother to two, dies suddenly of aggressive cancer. In two short years, Maggie's life has shattered.

After a year, she gives up trying to juggle single motherhood and the demands of an academic career and returns with her children to the family farm in central western New South Wales to take stock and catch a breath. The farm becomes a redemptive, healing place for Maggie and her children as they battle the heat and drought that only the Australian landscape can offer. She throws herself into the horses, sheep, ducks and chickens and slowly, finally, realises she has found a new shape for herself.

Written by a brilliant new talent, WHEN IT RAINS is a meditation on grief and the vagaries of the human condition, and a stunning memoir about piecing back together a life, and moving forward, one step at a time.

  • Published: 1 December 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742752273
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Maggie MacKellar

Maggie MacKellar lectures in Australian and cross-cultural comparative history at the University of Sydney. In 1996 she spent three months hiking, camping and kayaking in the Alaskan wilderness with the National Outdoor Leadership School, which provided the inspiration for this book. She lives in Sydney with her two children. Core of My Heart, My Country is her first book. MacKellar has since published her second book Strangers in a Foreign Land.

Also by Maggie MacKellar

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Awards & recognition

Queensland Literary Award

Shortlisted  •  2011  •  State Premier's Award

The Age Book of the Year Award

Shortlisted  •  2011  •  The Age Book of the Year Award (Non Fiction)