Shortlisted for the Booker Prize
In The Essence of the Thing, Madeleine St John takes us deep into the territory of the human heart.
Nicola should never have stepped out to buy that pack of cigarettes, because the man she discovers in her living room on her return is not the Jonathan she has been sharing her life with for the past six years. This new Jonathan, suddenly tired of people peering into his soul, decides that she should move out. Now a shocked, grief-stricken Nicola is forced to set out on the course that will take her from the hellish end of an affair to the essence of the thing.
Wry, witty and exquisite, here is another masterpiece from the author of The Women in Black.
'he Essence of the Thinggrabs the reader's sympathy and attention from the startling first pages and doesn't let go.' Newsday
* Extract from Helen Trinca's introduction to be placed in a major Australian newspaper * Helen Trinca to speak about Madeleine St John at select events in NSW and Queensland * Significant budget for print advertising including literary magazines and bookseller catalogues * Banner advertising on bookseller websites * Online promotions, including advertising and giveaways, on Facebook and Twitter * Promotions and giveaways with targeted subscriber groups * Featured in Text newsletters and website
Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 1997
'Brisk, sophisticated and artful.' --New York Times Book Review
'St John's intelligence transforms a simple story into a much larger commentary on love and loss.' --Mademoiselle
'Using spare prose, sparkling dialogue and painfully true observations on family life, St John creates a winning combination of humour and pathos.' --Publishers Weekly
Madeleine St John was born in Sydney in 1941. Her father, Edward, was a barrister and Liberal politician. Her mother, Sylvette, committed suicide in 1954, when Madeleine was twelve. Sylvette's death, Madeleine later said, 'obviously changed everything'. St John studied Arts at Sydney University, where her contemporaries included Bruce Beresford, Germaine Greer, Clive James and Robert Hughes. In 1965 she married Chris Tillam, a fellow student, and they moved to the United States where they first attended Stanford and later Cambridge. From Cambridge, St John relocated to London in 1968. The couple did not reunite and the marriage ended. St John settled in Notting Hill. She worked at a series of odd jobs, and then, in 1993, published her first novel, The Women in Black, the only book she set in Australia. When her third novel, The Essence of the Thing (1997), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, she became the first Australian woman to receive this honour. St John died in 2006.