y The Curer of Souls single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2006 2006
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

In London in 1865 Lydia Frankland finds a love letter written twenty years earlier by her late stepmother, Jane, to a natural historian at Port Arthur, Louis Lempriere. In the letter Jane confesses she is in love with Louis. Lydia is horrified at her stepmother's apparent infidelity, and begins to read Jane's diaries. In them she finds more details about the time the family spent in Van Diemen's Land all those years ago, when Lydia's father, Sir John, was governor there. She reads an account of a macabre murder involving two convict boys; of horrible experiments conducted on prisoners held on the island; and of Jane's obsession with Darwin's theories of evolution. Lydia realises there are secrets in her family's past, and she sails to Van Diemen's Land - now Tasmania - to unravel these mysteries. There she finds out more about her stepmother's friendship with Lempriere, and is forced to confront the fact that her father, whom she had believed a hero, upheld a sadistic regime in the penal colony. She is also transported back to a world where Charles Darwin's theories were emerging and threatening to take over long-held religious beliefs. In this historical novel, Simpson intertwines real historical events and figures with her own fictions, to 'map the silences' that traditional history leaves untouched. She masterfully weaves the reality of the darkness of Van Diemen's Land with brilliantly realised imaginings of the past on this remote island at the end of the earth. (Publisher's blurb)

Notes

  • Dedication: To Grant, my soulmate on a sea of possibilites.
  • Epigraph: 'History...is certainly the most erudite, the most aware, the most conscious, and possibly the most cluttered area of our memory; but it is equally the depths from which all beings emerge into their precarious, glittering existence.' Michel Foucault, The Order of Things
  • Epigraph: 'I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than torture of the body, because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh, because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it exhorts few cries that human ears can hear.' American Notes, for General Circulation by Charles Dickens, 1842, quoted on a plaque at the Female Factory Historical Site, Hobart

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Milsons Point, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Vintage , 2006 .
      Extent: 352p.
      ISBN: 9781741661071, 1741661072

Works about this Work

The Ocean of the Past Lorien Kaye , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 289 2007; (p. 53)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
In Short : Fiction Michael McGirr , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 16-17 September 2006; (p. 34)

— Review of The Memory of Tides Angelo Loukakis 2006 single work novel ; The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
Other Voices Tony Maniaty , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 30 September - 1 October 2006; (p. 15)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel ; Inventing Beatrice Jill Golden 2006 single work novel ; Border Street Suzanne Leal 2006 single work novel
Untitled Shane Strange , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , September vol. 86 no. 3 2006; (p. 40)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
Untitled Marie Evans , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Fiction Focus : New Titles for Teenagers , vol. 20 no. 3 2006; (p. 50)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
In Short : Fiction Michael McGirr , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 16-17 September 2006; (p. 34)

— Review of The Memory of Tides Angelo Loukakis 2006 single work novel ; The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
Other Voices Tony Maniaty , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 30 September - 1 October 2006; (p. 15)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel ; Inventing Beatrice Jill Golden 2006 single work novel ; Border Street Suzanne Leal 2006 single work novel
Untitled Shane Strange , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , September vol. 86 no. 3 2006; (p. 40)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
The Ocean of the Past Lorien Kaye , 2007 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 289 2007; (p. 53)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
Untitled Marie Evans , 2006 single work review
— Appears in: Fiction Focus : New Titles for Teenagers , vol. 20 no. 3 2006; (p. 50)

— Review of The Curer of Souls Lindsay Simpson 2006 single work novel
Last amended 22 Oct 2007 14:56:12
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  • Van Diemen's Land (1803-1856), Tasmania,
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