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Invented Lives - signed by the author


Product Description

Knowing what you want is hard. Accepting what is possible is harder still.

It is the mid-1980s. In Australia, stay-at-home wives jostle with want-it-all feminists, while AIDS threatens the sexual freedom of everyone. On the other side of the world, the Soviet bloc is in turmoil.

Mikhail Gorbachev has been in power for a year when twenty-four-year-old book illustrator Galina Kogan leaves Leningrad — forbidden ever to return. As a Jew, she’s inherited several generations worth of Russia’s chronic anti-Semitism. As a Soviet citizen, she is unprepared for Australia and its easy-going ways.

Once settled in Melbourne, Galina is befriended by Sylvie and Leonard Morrow, and their adult son, Andrew. The Morrow marriage of thirty years balances on secrets. Leonard is a man with conflicted desires and passions, while Sylvie chafes against the confines of domestic life. Their son, Andrew, a successful mosaicist, is a deeply shy man. He is content with his life and work — until he finds himself increasingly drawn to Galina.

While Galina grapples with the tumultuous demands that come with being an immigrant in Australia, her presence disrupts the lives of each of the Morrows. No one is left unchanged.

''Invented Lives'' tells a story of exile: exile from country, exile at home, and exile from one’s true self.

It is also a story about love.

Author: Andrea Goldsmith

Paperback, 336 Pages, Published April 2019


Recommended and reviewed by Graeme:

"This new novel from the Melbourne novelist is immediately fascinating with its two settings - Leningrad and then Melbourne during the mid-1980s The Gorbachev era is ushering  in new freedoms for some citizens and artist Galina Kogan and her mother find they have an opportunity as Jews to immigrate. They seize it before the chance evaporates, but then unexpectedly, Galina finds herself alone and facing this monumental change and journey solo. A chance meeting with Andrew, an Australian traveller, helps her decide her destination - Melbourne - almost on a whim. And the novel becomes the fascinating story of a migrant adapting to her new life and all the abundance and freedoms that Australia offers. You’re almost 200 pages into the book when a surprising gay male storyline emerges. It’s especially compelling as the character is an older man who is married to a woman, does not identify as gay but has had sex with men for decades. Although he has found a regular partner, the threat of AIDS and the paranoia which was rampant during these times, takes its toll on the emotions of these two men and the bond they have developed. Invented Lives is absolutely engrossing. The detail of life in Russia - the hardships, privations, and brutality is startling - and especially when Galina contrasts it later with living in Australia. Yet the comparison is also nuanced and not simply deriding the communist Soviet Union. The characters are all very vividly created - in particular, the character Andrew, who suffers from a debilitating shyness, a condition that is seldom explored in fiction. Goldsmith has also very cleverly constructed her narrative and it takes a surprising turn as it moves towards the climax. A minor character from early in the book suddenly reappears, upending everything and threatening the new life that Galina has established for herself." 


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