Cover image for Taking shelter
Taking shelter
Anderson, Jessica.
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Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1989.
Physical Description:
232 pages ; 22 cm
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First paperback issue of the most recent novel by the award-winning author whose previous book, TStories From the Warm Zone', was the 1987 TAge' Book of the Year. The novel explores the relationships between different generations of people in an era where there are no rules about the age, gender or faithfulness of lovers.

Author Notes

Born in Brisbane, Australia, Jessica Anderson lived mainly in Sydney, Australia. The cosmopolitan city has been the setting for much of her work, including her first novel, An Ordinary Lunacy (1963), which satirizes Sydney society. The Last Man's Head followed in 1970. Anderson's birthplace figures in her third novel, The Commandant (1975), which contains a vivid account of a penal settlement in the early nineteenth century. The historically based story focuses in part on how women fare in such a place, the role of women in society being a recurrent theme in Anderson's work. Her best-known book is Tirra Lirra by the River (1978), which retraces the life of a 70-year-old bedridden woman. The Impersonators (1980) examines the way money affects a Sydney family's outward lives. Anderson's novel Taking Shelter (1989), again examines Sydney society, this time in contemporary terms as the characters deal with their sexuality in the age of AIDS.

Although Anderson did not begin to write novels until after she was 40 or so, she established herself as a major figure both in Australia and abroad. Anderson was noted for varied and exact characterization, spare narrative strategies, lyrical style, subtle irony, and truthfully rendered dialogue. She won the Miles Franklin Literary Award twice. Anderson died on July 9, 2010; she was 93 years old.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this tale of changing sexual mores, a young woman is courted by a man who wants only a front for his homosexuality; she begins a new, live-in relationship that is complicated by a pregnancy and the arrival of her lover's mother. ``Anderson conveys this heartwarming story in an oblique but witty style, scattering insights and surprises throughout,'' said PW. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This novel chronicles relationships among a community of friends and family in contemporary Sydney. Twenty-year-old Beth Jeams stumbles from an unfulfilling romance with a questionably celibate bisexual into a passionate affair with a young man whom she had met as a child on a visit to Rome. The charm of this coincidence and their affair ring true in the rather hollow corridors of this comedy of manners. While the author raises the question of sexuality in the age of AIDS, she does not satisfactorily resolve it. The characters are like figures in one of Beth's wall murals, more representative than real. Only Juliet McCracken, everyone's friend--aging and introspective, preoccupied with her dreams, yet at the center of things--emerges as both ministering angel and observer. Her sensitivity and brusque wit define the novel. By the author of The Only Daughter ( LJ 3/15/85) and Stories from the Warm Zone ( LJ 10/15/87).-- Mary Soete, San Diego P.L., Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.