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Description - The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide

A brilliantly moving and darkly comic novel, which charts the attempts of dying heroine Delia -- a modern day Mrs Beeton -- to prepare her family for the future and lay to rest a ghost from her past. Inspired by her heroine, Isabella Beeton, Delia has made a living writing a series of hugely successful modern household guides, as well as an acerbic domestic advice column. As the book opens, she is not yet forty, but has only a short time to live. She is preoccupied with how to prepare herself and her family for death, from writing exhaustive lists to teaching her young daughters how to make a perfect cup of tea. What she needs, more than anything, is a manual -- exactly the kind she is the expert at writing. Realising this could be her greatest achievement (for who could be better equipped to write The Household Guide to Dying?) she sets to work. But, in the writing, Delia is forced to confront the ghosts of her past, and the events of fourteen years previously. There is a journey she needs to make, back to the landscape of her past, and one last vital thing she needs to do.Hugely original, life affirming and humorous, The Household Guide to Dying illuminates love, loss, family and the place we call home.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780007274703
ISBN-10: 000727470X
Format: Hardback
(222mm x 141mm x mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 16-Jun-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide

US Kirkus Review » Dry meditations on preparing for death and a trip down memory lane preoccupy the cancer-stricken heroine of a reflective, overburdened but not too sentimental story.A mother with a past is about to be snatched away too soon from her devoted husband and female children and needs to leave matters in order, in Australian novelist Adelaide's latest (The Hotel Albatross, 1995, etc.). The central character, Delia, doesn't have much time left and is obsessing about preparing for her young daughters' weddings, while needing to tie up loose ends regarding her own early life and also writing The Household Guide to Dying, the final volume in the Household Guides series related to her domestic-advice column. These jostling strands make for a choppy, sometimes chronologically confusing narrative, further fragmented by flashbacks and glimpses of Delia's professional correspondence. Adelaide's discursive style adds an additional gossipy dimension. However, the story of Delia's teenage pregnancy emerges through the thicket - how her boyfriend abandoned her; how she lived in a caravan, in a small town, as a single parent; how she coped when tragedy struck. Because of her illness, Delia has trouble finishing Household Guide to Dying, but Adelaide succeeds in wrapping things up gracefully.Despite the cluttered scenario and downbeat subject matter, the author's witty, perky tone and insight prevail. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Debra Adelaide

Debra Adelaide is the author of two previous novels in Australia including two novels, The Hotel Albatross, and Serpent Dust. She has worked as a researcher, editor and book reviewer, and has a PhD from the University of Sydney. She is presently a senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney where she lives with her husband and three children.

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