The Open World
I miss my smiling son more than any other man before or since.
London 1866. Elizabeth Smith is struggling to survive when she hears her New Zealand employers Judge and Lady Martin are returning to England. Accompanied by her dear friend, the lunatic Reverend Cotton, she makes a pilgrimage to settle old scores. Elizabeth is also accompanied by liberal doses of opiates and two small ghosts, walking by her side, whispering, murmuring, calling her.
Award-winning writer Stephanie Johnson lovingly peoples a landscape of the past. Mid-century New Zealand, London and the spa town of Buxton are lovingly evoked in a novel about motherhood, earliest colonial days, pharmacology and poreirewa - the yearning for absent loved ones.
Stephanie Johnson is the author of two collections of poetry, The Bleeding Ballerina and Moody Bitch; three collections of short stories, The Glass Whittler, All the Tenderness Left in the World and Drowned Sprat; and eight previous novels: Crimes of Neglect, The Heart's Wild Surf, The Whistler, Belief, The Shag Incident, Music from a Distant Room, John Tomb's Head and The Swimmer's Rope. The Shag Incident won the Montana Medal for Fiction in 2002. Stephanie has won the Bruce Mason Playwrights Award and Katherine Mansfield Fellowship. Many of her novels have been published in Australia, America and the United Kingdom.