Annah Faulkner

 Photo: Alan Hughes

The Beloved

 

Annah Faulkner

The Beloved

Judges' comments

Annah Faulkner’s The Beloved is a beautiful novel of mothers and daughters, of following dreams and the consequences when you don’t.

Melbourne, 1954 and Roberta “Bertie” Lightfoot’s world collapses when she is struck down with polio. Confined to the hospital with its iron lungs and fierce matrons, her mother, Lily May, rescues her and declares she will walk again, and she does, through hard work and sheer determination. Her mama, fierce like a lioness, knows best and wants the best for her children. 

In 1955 the Lightfoot family move to Port Moresby. Lily May is firmly resolved that her daughter will pursue the future she wants for her.  But Bertie, equally determined, is a talented artist and sees that as her future: around this conflict emerges a ferocious battle with her mother to define her own identity.

Despite her mother’s determination to stop her from pursuing art, Bertie continues under the tutelage of her aunt, Tempe, and her mother’s arch enemy, Helen.  Art threatens to irreparably damage the relationship between mother and daughter, and contributes to fracturing of the entire family dynamic.

Bertie’s parents marriage unravels as affairs, secrets and unrealised expectations drive them apart. But out of this despair, Bertie learns the truth about her mother’s past: from this essential truth Bertie’s family is finally freed from the burden of family history.

Tender, witty and charming The Beloved doesn’t miss a beat!