A Hundred Small Lessons
When Elsie Gormley falls and is forced to leave her Brisbane home of 62 years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, with their new life - new house, new city, new baby. Lucy and her husband Ben struggle to navigate their transformation from adventurous lovers to new parents and both seek to smooth the rough edges of their present with memories of their past as they try to discover who their future selves might be...But the house has a secret life as well, and the rooms seem to share Elsie's memories and moments with Lucy...In her nearby nursing home, Elsie revisits the span of her life - the moments she can't bear to let go; the haunts to which she might return. Her memories of wifehood, motherhood, love and death are intertwined with her old house, and as the boundary between present and past becomes more porous for her, this seems to manifest in the lives now held inside that house as well...Through one hot, wet Brisbane summer, seven lives - and two different slices of time - wind along with the flow of the river, as two families chart the ways in which we come, sudden and oblivious, into each other's stories, and the unexpected ripples that flow out from those chance encounters...A Hundred Small Lessons is about the many small decisions - the invisible moments - that come to make a life. These richly intertwined lives spin a warm and intricate story of how to feel - deeply and profoundly - what it is to be human; how to touch the shared experience of being mother or daughter; father or son. It's a story of love, and of life.
Ashley Hay is a Brisbane-based writer whose work includes fiction, narrative non-fiction, journalism, essays and reviews. Her novels have been longlisted for awards including the Miles Franklin and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for categories in the WA Premier's Prize, the NSW Premier's Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, as well as the Nita B. Kibble Award. Her second novel, The Railwayman's Wife, was awarded the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies, and also won the People's Choice at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards. It was also published in the UK, the US and in translation. A regular contributor to journals including The Monthly and Griffith Review, her essays have won awards in Australia and the US, and have been anthologized - along with her short stories - in collections including Best Australian Essays, Best Australian Science Writing, and Best Australian Short Stories. She was editor of Best Australian Science Writing 2014 and awarded the 2015 Dahl Trust/ABR Fellowship.