Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Blue skies and Jack and Jill (Hodgman)

Helen Hodgman isn't an author I've come across before, but apparently she was quite well known in the 1970s, winning the Somerset Maugham prize. Originally from Colchester in England, she then moved to Tasmania, where she spent the 1960s and 1970s, from which period these two novellas were written and set in.

Blue skies tells the tale of a housewife living in the suburbs. An otherwise dull suburban existence is actually more multi-dimensional than it seems at first - the housewife is having several affairs..there is suicide, and there is murder.

Jack and Jill tells the story of a little girl who's mother dies. She and her father make a hand-to-mouth existence. Then Jack appears and is taken in by the pair, and he provides a focus to Jill's existence through the rest of her life. He provides a link to home after her father dies, and when she leaves Australia for England, but their relationship is somewhat disturbing, and does not end happily.

I found both of the novellas reasonably interesting, but not a favourite VMC read. Of the two I preferred Jack and Jill, but I don't think I am hugely keen to read any more of Helen Hodgman.


  1. Fascinating title but pity the novellas don't seem to live up to it :(.

  2. I have this too. Got it from the Virago Group at LT but I haven't read it yet. I'm not really keen to read it now.

  3. Hurrah for authors from Colchester! :)

  4. Claire - the cover was pretty too...

    Astrid - there are other more exciting VMCs out there.

    Jenny - are you from there by any chance?!

  5. Hmmm...doesn't sound like my cup of tea!