Christina Stead (1902-1983) was a major Australian novelist who wrote twelve novels and several collections of short stories. She was described by the New Yorker as ‘the most extraordinary woman novelist …since Virginia Woolf’ and Saul Bellow thought she was really marvellous.”
If you want to read more about her before you get started, you can’t do better than to check out Bill’s review at The Australian Legend of Chris William’s 1989 biography.
In 2016 ANZ LitLovers is hosting Christina Stead Week (Nov 14-20), and this page will gather together all the reviews that are shared by readers who are participating, eventually forming a valuable resource for anyone who wants to find out more about Christina Stead and her work
Readers can choose any of Stead’s novels, short stories or other works. Reviews can be posted on your own blog, or on community sites like Goodreads or Library Thing if you don’t have your own blog.
Titles to choose from are:
Novels (links are to Wikipedia)
Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934)
The Beauties and Furies (1936)
House of All Nations (1938)
The Man Who Loved Children (1940)
- see Lisa’s ANZ LitLovers review
- see The Man Who Loved Children Opening Lines
- See Kathryn Gossow’s review at Fiction Fix
For Love Alone (1945)
- see Dorothy’s ‘appreciation’ at Dorothy Johnston.com (with a much nicer cover than the one in the slide show below)
- See Sue’s review at Whispering Gums
Letty Fox: Her Luck (1946)
A Little Tea, a Little Chat (1948)
The People with the Dogs (1952)
- See Pykk’s analysis of the nature of speech ‘Howled in unison and singly (This is worth reading in relation to any of Stead’s novels).
Dark Places of the Heart (1966) (aka Cotters’ England, as it is known in the UK and Australia)
The Little Hotel (1973)
The Salzburg Tales (1934)
The Puzzleheaded Girl: Four Novellas (1965) (containing The Puzzleheaded Girl, The Dianas, The Rightangled Creek and Girl from the Beach)
- See Kaggsy’s review of The Puzzleheaded Girl
- See Lisa’s review of The Puzzleheaded Girl
- See Lisa’s review of ‘Girl from the Beach’ (with minor references also to ‘The Dianas’ and ‘The Rightangled Creek’.
A Christina Stead Reader (1978) edited by Jean B. Read
Ocean of Story: The Uncollected Stories of Christina Stead, edited by R. G. Geering (1985) Guy Savage at His Futile Preoccupations has very usefully listed all the stories from the table of contents in this collection
- See His Futile Preoccupations
- See Sue’s review at Whispering Gums of the title story ‘Ocean of Story’
- See Sue’s review at Whispering Gums of three stories under the theme of the Early Years: ‘The Old School’; ‘The Milk Run’ and ‘The Little Demon’.
- See Guy’s review of ‘A Harmless Affair’
Christina Stead, a Life of Letters by Chris Williams
Christina Stead, A Biography by Hazel Rowley
Monday Musings on 1902, the Year of Christina Stead’s birth
- See Sue’s thoughts at Whispering Gums; and
Lisa’s response, tracing the literary influences on Stead from Hazel Rowley’s bio
Finally, there is a veritable wealth of links to online commentary and reviews at Pykk.
To source the work of Christina Stead, in Australia Fishpond has a good range of both new and used titles, and Text Publishing has just released four new titles in the Text Classics range all available in eBook or print)