In the fourth episode of Literary Canon Ball we discuss Helen Hodgman's Blue Skies.
In 2012, Australian publisher Text Publishing launched the Text Classics, a series of books that aimed to reintroduce Australian readers to their literary history. In the past five years, 115 Text Classics have been published.
Helen Hodgman’s Blue Skies is one of them.
Originally released in 1976, Blue Skies tells the story of an unnamed narrator, a young woman who is also a wife and mother. Set against a backdrop of suffocating suburbia under the glare of a biting Australian sun, Blue Skies peels back layers of mid-century social respectability revealing a woman who, as one reviewer wrote, is like ‘an elastic band that’s stretched too tight and about to snap’.
There is a sharpness and urgency to this writing that propels the reader along, but there is also a darkness, a sense of foreboding that settles over the prose and refuses to leave.
Author Nicholas Shakespeare called Blue Skies ‘A memorable novella – sensuous, strange, prickly as a sea-urchin.’