A Hundred Small Lessons

A Hundred Small Lessons 1

A Novel

by Ashley Hay

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 29/03/2017

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews Add your review
RRP  $32.99 $25.78

**Shortlisted 2017 QLD Literary Awards for Fiction**

**Shortlisted 2017 People's Choice Queensland Book of the Year**

Why Our Staff Love A Hundred Small Lessons:
A Hundred Small Lessons is the perfect lyrical and uplifting novel complete with a gorgeous cover to fall in love with. In this new novel, Ashley Hay, author of the widely-acclaimed The Railwayman's Wife, tells the story of two brilliant Australian women and how their lives converge over one hot, wet Brisbane summer.

We love the way the idea of home comes alive on the page and how the book speaks to Australians, young and old, of the beautiful and, at times ugly, realities of family. Genuine, thoughtful and heart-warming, A Hundred Small Lessons is an absolute must-read.

A lyrical novel of two mothers from different generations and how their lives converge in one hot, wet summer. From the bestselling author of The Railwayman's Wife.

Luminous and deeply affecting, A Hundred Small Lessons is about the many small decisions - the invisible moments - that come to make a life. The intertwined lives of two women from different generations tell a rich and intimate story of how we feel - what it is to be human, and how place can transform who we are. It takes account of what it means to be mother or daughter; father or son. It's a story of love, and of life.

When Elsie Gormley falls and is forced to leave her Brisbane home of sixty-two years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, with their new life - new house, new city, new baby. Lucy and her husband Ben are struggling to transform from adventurous lovers to new parents and seek to smooth the rough edges of their present with memories of their past as they try to discover their future selves.

In her nearby nursing home, Elsie revisits the span of her life - the moments she can't bear to let go; the haunts to which she might yet return. Her memories of marriage, motherhood, love and death are intertwined with her old house, whose rooms seem to breathe Elsie's secrets into Lucy.

Through one hot, wet Brisbane summer, seven lives and two different slices of time wind along with the flow of the river, as two families chart the ways in which we come, sudden and oblivious, into each other's stories, and the unexpected ripples that flow out from those chance encounters.

'A luminous evocation of ordinary lives and the city that shapes them. Ashley Hay brings a pointillist eye to the daily miracles of love, of chance, of belonging.' - Kris Olsson, author of Kibble prize-winner Boy, Lost

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
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The Brief with Ashley Hay

At the moment I’m reading…
Between a Wolf and a Dog, by Georgia Blain, and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

My favourite book growing up was…
The House at Pooh Corner, by A. A. Milne

My all-time favourite book is…
always changing. But I always come back to Coming Through Slaughter, by Michael Ondaatje.

The book I would recommend everyone to read is…
Oh, that’s hard. It made me think of a wonderful piece by Tegan Bennett Daylight (she was writing about Helen Garner) that describes a “great book” as “a companion, a friend, and like a friend it changes with you.” She talks of reading “waking you up, reminding you of how you live”. How wonderful if everyone could find and read the books that do that work with them: Helen Garner and Tegan Bennett Daylight both do that for me.

The book I wish I wrote is…
Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf – or anything by Mo Willems

My perfect guilty pleasure read is…
the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell last year with my seven-year-old. We haven’t found this year’s series yet.

When I’m not working or reading, you’ll find me…
pretending to do something else – and probably still secretly reading or writing…

When I describe my new book to people, I tell them…
that it’s about the lives of two women in the same Brisbane house at different times. That it’s about their families, and their worlds, the ways they love, and the ways they haunt each other. I also tell them that it has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen. It not only feels like it embodies the book – it actually glows.

One thing I’ll never forget is…
how to spell “accommodation”. I can still remember the rhythm of learning it in Year 4, back in 1980.

My favourite place to be is…
Anywhere with a limitless horizon. Or on a no-plans day with the other two-thirds of my family. Those two things in combination are a kind of perfection.

The most dangerous thing I have ever done is…
camp overnight on the Antarctic Peninsula. Well, really, it wasn’t dangerous at all, but it was a challenge for someone with a reckless imagination – and penguins kept walking by, possibly wondering what on earth we were doing there in our sleeping bags …

I’ll always remember…
Seeing an elderly man sweeping sand away from the base of one of the Great Pyramids of Giza with a sparse and twiggy broom. I was a teenager, and it seemed a pointless sort of Sisyphean task. Now I’m older, it makes a different kind of sense.

The one piece of advice I give to new authors is…
To pay attention to how all sorts of different things look and feel and sound and smell – you never know where you’ll find what you need for the story you’re trying to tell.

I can never say no to…
trying to sneak another tree into the garden.

Yesterday, I…
celebrated a friend’s birthday with a Stradbroke Island swim and saw two dolphins practicing cartwheels beyond the waves. One looked like it had mastered perfect re-entry – no splash – while the other one was all crashing and bellyflops.

Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay's work includes fiction, narrative non-fiction, journalism, essays and reviews. Her novels have been longlisted for awards including the Miles Franklin and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for categories in the WA Premier's Prize, the NSW Premier's Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, as well as the Nita B. Kibble Award.

Her second novel, The Railwayman's Wife, was awarded the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies, and also won the People's Choice at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards. It was also published in the UK, the US and in translation.

A former literary editor of The Bulletin she contributes to journals including The Monthly and Griffith Review. Her work has won awards in Australia, the UK and the US, and has been anthologised in collections including Best Australian Essays, Best Australian Science Writing, and Best Australian Short Stories.

She was editor of Best Australian Science Writing 2014 and was awarded the 2015 Dahl Trust/ABR Fellowship, for which essay she won the 2016 Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing.

She lives in Brisbane.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Wonderful story!

    by on

    I found this book so good to read,it was hard to put it down,I gave to me daughter to read and she also found unable to stop reading it once started.It was a nice fresh story. And having family in Brisbane sounded like I was there myself at times.I REALLY enjoyed it all the way thru.GREAT author:-)