'Marie King is a 59-year-old divorcée from Sydney's affluent north shore. Having devoted her rather conventional life to looking after her husband and three children - who have now all departed the family home - she is experiencing something of an identity crisis, especially as she must now sell the family home and thus lose her beloved garden. On a folly she gets a tattoo.
'Marie forges a friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys, who introduces her to an alternative side of Sydney. Through their burgeoning connection, Marie's two worlds collide causing great friction within Marie's family and with her circle of rich friends.' (From the publisher's website.)
Thou shalt not make any cuttings in thy flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:28
Please Doctor, I feel pain. Not here. No, not here. Even I don't know. -Czeslaw Milosz, 'I Sleep A Lot'
'Within twentieth-century Australian fiction, suburbia has long been trivialised, satirised, or ignored as a site incompatible with a narrative of transformation, a location from which to flee. However, little critical attention has been directed on contemporary realist tales of the female protagonist located within the confines of suburbia—an increasingly contested yet arguably still feminine/feminised zone. This chapter examines contemporary representations and narrative trajectories of the suburban female protagonist in twenty-first-century fiction. Drawing on “postfeminist” literary theory and emerging reappraisals of the “everyday” and “home”, the chapter presents evidence of intra-suburban narratives of feminine transformation, which contradict second-wave feminist flight trajectories, thereby reclaiming and elevating fictional suburbia as a critical space in which Australian women writers may locate their stories.'