Book Notes: "Come in Spinner" by Dymphna Cusack

Come in SpinnerCome in Spinner by Dymphna Cusack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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 1953 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 1951. I enjoy discovering great literature at bric-a-brac stores, but it really makes we wonder how such gems escape the Australian education system. The tales of tragedy, glamour, despair, and comeuppance, following the lives of a handful of young women in 1940s 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.

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