Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 2, 2012

Cold Light (2011), by Frank Moorhouse (Combined Reviews)

Cold LightUpdate: to see my review, click here.


Oh dear, I’ve run out of time to finish reading Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse in time for the Miles Franklin shortlist.  I can tell you this, though, it’s a most enjoyable book…I’m particularly enjoying the three-sided conversations between Edith and her long-lost brother: what he says, what she says, and what she’s thinking but not saying!  (He’s a Communist, you see, and she’s back in Canberra after the war, hoping for a job as a diplomat.)

In lieu of my own review, here are some combined reviews:

David Marr dubs him the nation’s Edith Wharton   in The Monthly.

Jo Case at the ABC says that ‘Frank Moorhouse’s trilogy of novels about Edith Campbell Berry is surely one of Australian literature’s finest achievements’.

Berkelou Books says that ‘all readers will appreciate the meticulous writing and detailed realisation of character and period enmeshed with the ideas and events of the time’.

Peter Pierece in the SMH says that ‘few Australian novelists have dealt so subtly and extensively with politics as  Moorhouse’.

And Denise Carter reassures those of you who have not read Books 1 & 2 in the trilogy, that ‘Cold Light is at once a thoroughly absorbing read and an education’.  (And this is true.  I’ve read them both, but so long ago, it doesn’t count.)

Here’s an interview with Frank  Moorhouse, and another, this time with Patrick Allington.

Author: Frank Moorhouse
Title: Cold Light
Publisher: Vintage 2011
ISBN: 9781741661262
Source: Personal library, purchased from Readings.

Fishpond: Cold Light


  1. Oh dear, Lisa. Someone at my reading group last night told me about the Edith Wharton thing — but I say No, No, No. I don’t see it, other than superficially. Their tones and their intents seem very different to me.


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