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The Hard Word

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Vera. Miriam, Laura - one family, three generations - with Miriam at the centre, balancing the needs of her mother and daughter with those of her marriage and career. Vera is slipping into the darkness of Alzheimer's disease, while Laura is embroiled in teenage conflicts of identity and sexuality. In her professional life, Miriam is able to help others unlock the past through the simple power of words. So, what prevents her from doing it for those closest to her? And for herself... ?The answer to this painful dilemma emerges not so much from within Miriam herself, but from the hard, raw experience of the migrant and refugee women she teaches. Their stories resonate with her own, and she finds herself sustained in her own crisis by their strength and laughter. In this sensitive exploration of memory, love and family, John Clanchy's writing reaches new levels of insight, while retaining its distinctive humour."Clanchy explores the big questions like love, death, betrayal and loss with a rare toughness and an even rarer insight... He is a highly accomplished writer."Mark Henshaw, ""Canberra Times""

John Clanchy

John Clanchy

John Clanchy was born in Melbourne in 1943, but has lived in Canberra, working as a counsellor and academic at the Australian National University, since 1975. He was for some years head of an academic advisory centre for students at the Australian National University and foundation director of the Graduate Teaching Program in the university's Graduate School. John has published nine volumes of fiction (five novels and three collections), as well as many uncollected short stories in magazines, newspapers and anthologies. His stories have won many awards, in Australia, Europe, the US and New Zealand. His novel The Hard Word won the 2003 ACT book of the Year in 2003, and his collection of stories Vincenzo's Garden won both the same prize in 2006 and the Steele Rudd Award the year before. In addition to literary fiction, John has co-authored two detective thrillers with Mark Henshaw If God Sleeps and And Hope to Die, both now appearing in French and German. His most recent collection Her Father's Daughter, five long stories dealing with the complex and often fraught relations between fathers and daughters, was released in August 2008.