The Steele Diaries

It is as if I am slowly sinking in the water, just occasionally making it back to the top for a gulp of air – to a sort of memory of what life can be – what life SHOULD be – and then down down down I go again. And each time the surfacing gets harder and harder and requires a greater feat of will, kicking and turning and fighting against the undertow…. What I fear most is that as the memory gets fainter and fainter – that eventually I will just give into it and go under, relieved that I don’t have to struggle anymore, that I can just sink into to this blessed oblivion, give into this siren song of domesticity…

The only child of two famous but self-absorbed artists, Zelda Steele is adopted by her parent’s patrons when she is just a baby. Great things are expected of this privileged young woman, but at twenty-seven Zelda is dead, leaving two young children and a body of work that only hints at her promise.

Decades later, Zelda’s daughter Ruth returns to her childhood home to find the diaries her mother is rumoured to have kept. What they reveal takes her on a journey into the past: her mother’s, her grandmothers and, ultimately, her own.

Weaving together the narratives of three very different women, living in vastly different times, The Steele Diaries paints a rich and evocative portrait of the Sydney art scene from the thirties to the seventies, and examines the eternal conflict between motherhood and self.

ISBN: 9781740513845
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 361
Published: 2008
Country of Publication: AU
Edition Number: 1

Lily Bragge - Sun Herald

The writing is sharp, incisive and compassionate without any trace of sentimentality. This thoroughly compelling and beautifully composed story of prominent Sydney artists is full of insight, humour, intelligence and honesty. A profoundly satisfying read, it has universal and personal resonance.

WHO Magazine

As a fan of Out Of The Silence, the author’s award winning debut, I had high hopes for this second effort – and it didn’t disappoint. Diaries is a wonderful exploration of the tricky relationship between motherhood and art.

Gillian Dooley - Radio Adelaide

The Steele Diaries is engrossing, intelligent and thoroughly enjoyable.



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