- By Annah Faulkner

The Beloved

  • Title: The Beloved
  • Author: Annah Faulkner
  • ISBN: 9781742611556
  • Page: 150
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Beloved acute evocation of postwar Australasia Faulkner s novel is enlivened by a strong gift for metaphor and the wisdom to use it sparingly When Roberta Bertie Lightfoot is struck down with polio her world

    acute evocation of postwar Australasia Faulkner s novel is enlivened by a strong gift for metaphor and the wisdom to use it sparingly When Roberta Bertie Lightfoot is struck down with polio, her world collapses But Mama doesn t tolerate self pity, and Bertie is nobody if not her mother s daughter until she sets her heart on becoming an artist Through drawing acute evocation of postwar Australasia Faulkner s novel is enlivened by a strong gift for metaphor and the wisdom to use it sparingly When Roberta Bertie Lightfoot is struck down with polio, her world collapses But Mama doesn t tolerate self pity, and Bertie is nobody if not her mother s daughter until she sets her heart on becoming an artist Through drawing, the gifted and perceptive Bertie gives form and voice to the reality of the people and the world around her While her father is happy enough to indulge Bertie s driving passion, her mother will not let art get in the way of the future she wishes for her only daughter.In 1955 the family moves to post colonial Port Moresby, a sometimes violent frontier town, where Bertie, determined to be the master of her own life canvas, rebels against her mother s strict control In this tropical landscape, Bertie thrives amid the lush pallette of colours and abundance, secretly learning the techniques of drawing and painting under the tutelage of her mother s arch rival.But Roberta is not the only one deceiving her family As secrets come to light, the domestic varnish starts to crack, and jealousy and passion threaten to forever mar the relationship between mother and daughter.Tender and witty, The Beloved is a moving debut novel which paints a vivid portrait of both the beauty and the burden of unconditional love.WINNER OF THE NITA B KIBBLE LITERARY AWARD 2013SHORTLISTED FOR THE MILES FRANKLIN AWARD 2013WINNER OF THE QUEENSLAND PREMIER S LITERARY AWARD FOR AN EMERGING QUEENSLAND AUTHOR 2011COMMENDED FOR THE FAW CHRISTINA STEAD AWARD 2012

    1 thought on “The Beloved

    1. With a few exceptions I am not a fan of coming of age stories, which is annoying as there seems to be a lot around at present. That said, I did enjoy The Beloved. From its stunning cover this book is filled with colour. It starts with the blackness that descends when polio hits Roberta (Bertie) Lightfoot as a young child and shows the cruelty of other children and sometimes adults to her disability. It reminds us how cruel people can be and how much words can wound. With the help of her mother L [...]

    2. Two novels set in New Guinea on the one Miles Franklin longlist! Drusilla Modjeska’s The Mountain is a more complex work tackling more significant issues (see my review) but Annah Faulkner’s The Beloved is a satisfying debut novel from a perceptive author, and I liked its theme of the importance of being true to oneself.The central character and first-person narrator, Roberta, is a terrific creation. Clear-eyed, ambitious, empathetic and wonderfully stubborn, she is forced to overcome physic [...]

    3. This book had everything in it - happy, sad - things that made me think/reflect. I enjoyed this book very much and I think it was a good choice for our book club read.Sometimes I did not quite understand Roberta and some of things that she did but that was okay.The story starts in Melbourne where Roberta (Bertie) lives with her older brother Tim and her mum Lily May (Bean) and dad, Edric. Mum is Canadian and has coffee coloured skin. I am not sure how old Bertie was when she contracted Polio but [...]

    4. The Beloved is the debut novel by Australian author Annah Faulkner- winner of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Emerging Writer. Set in Port Moresby in the 1950’s-1960’s, this story examines family dynamics, passion and a young girl’s determination to be true to herself.Roberta “Bertie” Lindsay Lightfoot contracts polio at the age of six and impairs her ability to walk. When she recovers from the illness, she has one ‘crippled’ leg which is deformed and Bertie is ashame [...]

    5. As I won this book here on First Reads, I would firstly like to thank Hayley for the opportunity to read and review this book - it was an absolute joy to read!I won't re-tell the storyline, as others have already done so. I found the language used in this book to be beautiful and very descriptive. The storyline was very engaging and interesting, with plenty going on to keep it moving along at a comfortable pace.Drawing characters is where the author really excelled. The author painted a picture [...]

    6. A brilliant novel, worthy of winning the Queensland Premier's Literary Award. It's a gentle and engaging story of a family who move from Melbourne to Port Moresby in the 1950s and the different forms that love relationships can take. Central to the story is a mother a daughter relationship, but it also includes characters experiencing the good and the bad in all types of love relationships. The exotic location promotes another level of love as the backdrop to the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed [...]

    7. Beautifully written story of growing up in the 1950s. Roberta is one of the unlucky ones, stricken with polio, which leaves her with a withered foot. Unable to participate in physical activities she turns to creating art which is opposed by her mother. This is a book about relationships, of children being forced into adult situations, of self realisation and acceptance, mostly set in the exotic landscape of New Guinea.

    8. Sympathetic characters and plausible action set at the start of the 1960s when the world was still finding its way after the upheaval of the war. The characters' lives are full of sadly thwarted passions (lovers, art and the burning desire of a child with polio to feel 'normal') set against the backdrop of Sydney, New Guinea and Canada. I LOVED this book.

    9. this is a great book about a determined and gifted young girl coming to terms with her talent and her dominating mother. I read it in one night.

    10. A coming-of-age story with very appealing protagonist and an unusual setting. Vividly describes life in post-war Papua New Guinea, family tensions and an unfolding (and forbidden) artistic talent.

    11. ‘It came one morning with the milk, and it seemed – at first – almost as innocent.’Roberta ‘Bertie’ Lightfoot is six when she contracts polio. Bertie recovers, but one leg is withered and she has to wear a special boot, which she hates. Although Bertie is a talented and perceptive artist, her passion for art is not part of her mother’s plan for her future. Bertie’s mother has high expectations for her, and sees Bertie’s interest in art as a waste of time, of misdirected effort. [...]

    12. I enjoyed this book, a debut novel from Queensland author Annah Faulkner. It tells the story of Bertie, starting from her life at age 6, when she is struck with polio, until her mid-teens. Bertie has a lot to deal with in her life. As well as having to cope with a withered leg as a result of the polio, she becomes stuck in the middle of her parent's disintegrating marriage.Bertie is an engaging character, with a strong, lively voice. I felt empathy with her from the novel's opening lines. Her mo [...]

    13. 2.5-3 stars. I don't like writing this kind of review, but I was really frustrated by this book.I just didn't buy it. The notion that Bertie's mother would be so vehemently opposed to her daughter being an artist when her sister seemed perfectly happy as one. The great pains that Bertie went to to think about asking for her paints, but never actually just coming out and saying it. (view spoiler)[And then the way their relationship was magically mended at the end, so much so that Bertie happily g [...]

    14. This was a vibrant, beautifully written coming of age story with compelling characters. The language was a pleasure to read, filled with brilliantly evocative and colourful imagery, not only of Papua New Guinea's natural wonders but also of people (even minor characters) and seemingly mundane settings. I sometimes find some authors' use of imagery to be excessive and distracting, but in this case the imagery was beautifully integrated into the narrative.The characters were wonderfully drawn, par [...]

    15. This beautifully written first book deserved to win the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Emerging Author, and a place on the Miles Franklin Award short list. Against a backdrop of life in the 1950s in Port Moresby, with excursions to Melbourne, Sydney and Canada, The Beloved is the story of the protagonist's (Bertie's) somewhat stormy childhood in a family fraught with problems. The conflict between mother and daughter draws the story along at a page-turning pace, ensuring an easy read. B [...]

    16. This is an honest and pleasing novel, written in part based on the author's experience of growing up in Papua New Guinea around the time of independence. The main character (and narrator) - Roberta (Bertie) - has a crippled foot as a result of polio but her determination and energy that more than make up for any physical limitations. Bertie has artistic talents and wants to be a painter but her mother (whose own ambitions were thwarted by marriage) wants 'better' things for her daughter.There ar [...]

    17. A very beautifully written story of Bertie's coming of age, set in New Guinea. The story begins in Melbourne when Bertie is very young, then moves between Sydney, New Guinea, and Canada. Bertie's mother is one of those parents who fascinate me by trying to control the lives of their children. I can't begin to imagine the motivation or 'kick' that any adult gets from manipulating a child. Bertie learns strategies to manage this situation and the whole relationship dynamics are realistic and reall [...]

    18. She was a guest at the recent Writers Festival sessions here in Katoomba, and liking the sound of her conversation I bought the book. It’s set in New Guinea, mostly in Moresby, and the story comes to us through the consciousness of Bertie, a young girl who is early struck down by polio. Bertie sees auras round people, sees colours where most of us see nothing – the condition known as synesthesia. Conflicts arise between mother and daughter when Bertie finds that art is what she is drawn to. [...]

    19. My rating is 2.5 stars.On the one hand, I did enjoy the story and found it to be easy to read and follow. I liked many of the characters, and most of them felt real to me. On the other hand, there were (as other reviewers have pointed out) a great many loose ends and oddly out of place unnecessaries. And I never really believed that we were hearing the story from Bertie- particularly in the beginning, where the story was supposedly through her 6 year old eyes. It really through me every time I w [...]

    20. Winner of the Queensland premier's Literary award for emerging author - and a well-deserved win. I really enjoyed this book. The voice is not quite the voice of a young girl, so that is something that could be improved - but the story is a great read, quite a page turner. It is a real coming of age story and one felt for the young girl, Bertie, never coming to terms with her withered leg and being different from the other kids. In some ways it reminded me of My name is Asher Lev, as it also deal [...]

    21. The Beloved set in PNG, vibrant, colorful, disturbing. My forage into books set in this country and climate dwell in my psych. There is a passion and a tension within the stories and the landscape. Bertie the character was a sweetie, but her mother's disturbing ways were almost sinister. The poor girl seemed to have to fend for herself most of the time. Interesting take on growing up, dreams and the idea of following your heart.

    22. With a life long love of PNG I eagerly read this book & was not disappointed. The story to me captured a time & place; Melbourne, Sydney, PNG & Canada post WW2.The relationship between mother & daughter and the expectations that we place on our children was the main theme. The theme was explored & made for compelling reading. I particularly enjoyed the characters love of art.I really enjoyed this book & have recommended for my Book Club.

    23. This is the first novel I have read which is set in PNG which I enjoyed. The theme of the mother/daughter relationship was very powerful. A mother with requited ambitions superimposing them onto her daughter was well played out throughout the story. Could have been edited a bit as some sections were superfluous. But a good one all the same!

    24. Two strong female characters, a young daughter stricken with polio at a young age is at odds with her mother over her wish to persue her passion to become an artist. Interesting setting of 1950's Port Moresby. Also shows what a devastating effect an infedility can have from the young girl's perspective. Well written and very readable.

    25. I really enjoyed this book. I could not put it down and when I find a book like this I want to tell more people about it! An excellent read, great character development and clear descriptive imagery.Well written and thoroughly enjoyed. Go read it!!

    26. I really enjoy the way Annah Faulkner brings her characters and settings to life, they were so real to me. Anna's next book, The last day in the dynamite factory, is a must-read.

    27. I decided to read an Australian book while in Australia. I enjoyed the characters, but would have liked more of a "point" to the book and more of a conclusion.

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