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Their romantic entanglements are further complicated by the tensions of war, with American troops in 'occupation' and at a time when anything could be obtained - for a price. She worked as a teacher until she retired in for health reasons. Now that I have belatedly 'discovered' Dymphna Cusack, I can't get enough of her. At the time, her books were translated into many languages Russian, Albanian, German, French, Mandarin etc etc and she was Europe's most popular foreign author.

It centres around the women working in a beauty salon in a ritzy hotel in the city, their loves, losses and friendships with each other. There are some hilarious accounts of having run-ins with the hotel bosses. All very engaging characters. I loved it.

BOOK REVIEWS: Antipodean classics | Newcastle Herald

Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Write a review. Sorry, the book that you are looking for is not available right now. More filters. Sort order. Hence, the title Come In Spinner. These soldiers themselves are not the main characters in this novel. In fact, this novel tells of a week in the lives of working class women in Sydney during WWII when the American soldiers were based in Australia.

The book focused on 4 women who worked in the Marie Antoinette, a salon in a prestigious hotel in Sydney. It tells of their struggles with husbands or lack of, their oppression by the snobby upper class and managers, and most especially, lack of money. These women have bonded with each other though these bonds are fraught with some jealousy.

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This book was a truly fascinating insight to women in that particular era and I found it absolutely admirable how courageous they are. Different sort of courage for each and despite the rather un-decisive ending ie. Amazing how time has changed! This is a wonderful piece of Australian literature. It captures the lived experience of Sydney and the "American Occupation" during the Second World War, bringing to life the social history I studied in one of Joan Beaumont's classes at Deakin University. I am rediscovering Australian literature that for some reason is hidden behind the cultural cringe.

This version of the work is apparently heavily abridged, and a later version edited from the original manuscript includes the parts about r This is a wonderful piece of Australian literature. This version of the work is apparently heavily abridged, and a later version edited from the original manuscript includes the parts about rape, prostitution, and abortion that were not allowed to be published when first released in I enjoy discovering great literature at bric-a-brac stores, but it really makes we wonder how such gems escape the Australian education system.

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The tales of tragedy, glamour, despair, and comeuppance, following the lives of a handful of young women in s Sydney, expose a reality that was well-hidden by my great-grandparents and their facade of morality. Maybe this is why the work has not had its proper place in Australian literature, despite a television series based on the book that seems to have also disappeared into history.

View 1 comment. Jul 29, Deborah rated it liked it. Very long book. I read this for an Australian Lit. It was fiction, but historical too and taught me a lot about Australian culture during world war II. But neither self-discipline nor a bank book are any good unless you are going to have a future.

by Miles Franklin

This is a sprawling, passionate, alive novel about the experiences of Australian women during the second world war. Clustered around the workers in a beauty salon in a high-end Sydney hotel, the book explores the volatile sexual, financial and emotional worlds of women living in a time of huge uncertainty and change.


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There's a lot in the book, plenty of politics, buckets of social commentary and huge doses of what is now history, but none of this draws focus from the stories of the women. It seems clear that James and Cusack have much they feel needs to be said, but they think all this is best done simply by telling the stories of women. I found myself contrasting this to Katherine Susannah Prichard and Eleanor Dark, for example, who both use stories as a structure to hang discussion, debate and polemic around. Come in Spinner is all sound and fury, and little structure, and the characters are believably absorbed in their own personal dilemmas, to the exclusion of speechifying or musing on the state of the world.

But their dilemmas are pointed, and it must be said, the single week of their lives in the book is one hell of a week. Rape, sex work, abortion, illegal gambling high and low stakes , and workplace discrimination all feature heavily in the plot lines, scoring with what must have been, at the time, brutal honesty the reality of the dilemmas women face.

Underpinning this however is the ongoing preoccupation of the women about their future, with the book set in the waning of the war. Economic destabilisation hangs heavy over their choices: women over 45 expect to be turfed immediately and permanently from work, and all are aware that returning servicemen will be given work in preference to them. The women agonise about matrimonial choices, juggling desires for stability, love, passion, escape.

Several weigh choices which offer material advantages, but come with a price of endless servitude of one form or another. Two of the women excel at business, but neither can work out how to break from the situations they are trapped in to become self reliant, defeated by both internal and external factors. Sex is an abiding theme, and never simple as the early quote shows.

Sex is a contract, and act of passion, part of a game played very carefully with high stakes. However, another scene, in which sex workers locked up swap stories about how to get out, gives a brief glimpse of different perspective, and a set of sex workers who are worth respecting. There is complexity and dissonance in this book, which seeks to present no answers or sharply defined argument, but instead a passionately told set of stories that demand, simply, to be heard.

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Much to my chagrin, I have no idea if I have read this before. I suspect I had seen the mini series in the 80s, as some of the plotlines were familiar and I knew how they would end. I am getting old!


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Jul 26, Angus Mcfarlane rated it really liked it Shelves: australian. Regarded by some as a 'classic' Australian novel, I initially thought it was going to be a "New Idea" novel of gossiping women in a salon of little interest to me despite begninning with my nearly namesake. I realised in the end that the salon gossip was instead a clever satire of the airs and prejudices held by various 'classes' of Australian society during the 's and thereabouts.

My Brilliant Career / My Career Goes Bung

Expresses well the disdain held in Australia to those who would seek to place themselves above the 'everyda Regarded by some as a 'classic' Australian novel, I initially thought it was going to be a "New Idea" novel of gossiping women in a salon of little interest to me despite begninning with my nearly namesake. Expresses well the disdain held in Australia to those who would seek to place themselves above the 'everyday' man.

Shelves: australian-fiction , historical-fiction , favorite-books , australian-non-fiction , australian-history , australian-classics , aussie-authors. I was loaned a copy of this book many years ago and found it so thoroughly absorbing that the characters stayed with me long after the story had ended. I remember telling everyone to read it! It was hard to find any copies of it around, so when I recently saw a new release of it on the shelves again with a new cover, and promptly bought it to keep with my collection of favorite "Aussie" books.

I will read it again. View all 4 comments. Jan 16, Ethna Brave rated it it was amazing. Loved this book. A beautifully written, insightful and all round must read!

My Brilliant Career / My Career Goes Bung

Mar 09, Val H. Of course, it isn't, but it does deal with many of the issues facing women during WWII - unwanted pregnancy, houses of disrepute, going out with the glamorous Yanks, enjoying working and wondering what would happen after the war, having to work in order to survive, etc. It is a genuine piece of Australiana and deserves a higher place in the literary pantheon and to be more widely read today.

For a book first published in although highly abridged to protect moral sensibilities , it is extremely readable today and addresses many issues which still face young women. It is also a marvellous snapshot of Sydney towards the end of the war. Very enjoyable - I loved re-acquainting myself with Guinea, Deb and Claire. I have the DVD and next step is to re-acquaint myself with that! Jan 24, Louise McOrmond-Plummer rated it it was amazing. I have just finished this epic book and loved it. I realise that it was already a huge book, but I would have loved to hear more about Dallas and Nolly, as well as a big come-uppance for the horrible Angus MacFarland and Denise D'Arcy-Twining.