Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 12, 2016

Opening Lines: For Love Alone (1945), by Christina Stead

for-love-aloneFor Love Alone was Christina Stead’s fifth novel, published by Peter Davies, London, in 1945.  With just a couple of days to go before Christina Stead Week (November 14-20), here are the opening lines from the first chapter, titled ‘Sea People’:

In the part of the world Teresa came from, winter is in July, spring brides marry in September, and Christmas is consummated with roast beef, suckling pig, and brandy-laced plum pudding at 100 degrees in the shade, near the tall pine-tree loaded with gifts and tinsel as it is in the old country, and old carols have rung out all through the night.

This island continent lies in the water hemisphere.  On the eastern coast, the neighbouring nation is Chile, though it is far, far east, Valparaiso being more than six thousand miles away in a straight line; her northern neighbours are those of the Timor Sea, the Yellow Sea; to the south is that cold, stormy sea full of earth-wide rollers which stretches from there without land, south to the Pole.

The other world – the old world, the land hemisphere – is far above her as it is shown on maps drawn upside-down by old world cartographers.  From that world and particularly from a scarcely noticeable island up toward the North Pole the people came, all by steam; or their parents, all by sail. And there they live round the many thousand miles of seaboard, hugging the water and the coastal rim.  Inside, over the Blue Mountains, are the plains heavy with wheat, then the endless dust, and after outcrops of silver, opal, and gold, Sahara, the salt-encrusted bed of a prehistoric sea, and leafless mountain ranges.  There is nothing in the interior; so people look toward the water, and above to the fixed stars and constellations which first guided men here.

For Love Alone, by Christina Stead, Arkon (an imprint of Angus & Robertson), 1982, p.1 ISBN 0207144923
Cover illustration:  ‘Portrait of a Girl’, by Russell Drysdale, (held at the Queensland Art Gallery; cover design by Neil Carlyle)

the-beauties-and-furiesDon’t forget, I have a Text Classics copy of The Beauties and Furies (with an introduction by Margaret Harris) to give away to readers with an Australian postcode.  Please indicate your interest in the comments below.  Then keep an eye out for the announcement of the winner either here or @anzlitlovers on Twitter so that you can get back to me with an address for posting.  I’ll draw the winner for this one quickly, during Christina Stead Week.


  1. Well I don’t need to be told three times, I’ll go in the draw (I might win a draw of one!).


  2. Wouldn’t that be lovely to be the lucky one. Still collecting all of her books but not quite there as yet so would be appreciated.


  3. LOL Bill, I think I didn’t advertise this well enough, but now thanks to Fay we have a draw of two:)


  4. I’ve only once been in a hot climate near to Christmas and felt totally disorientated to be wearing shorts yet seeing Christmas trees and hearing carols in many of the shopping malls.


    • LOL Now you know how we feel when you lot talk about summer reading in July!


      • or when my American colleagues ask me how i plan to spend thanksgiving – I tell them we give thanks every day that we let them win the war of independence. :)


  5. Me too, I don’t need to be told three times either. I did love For love alone, and these opening lines bring it all back!


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