The Women In Black
Madelaine St. John
‘ A pocket masterpiece. A jewel’ Hilary Mantel
On the second floor of the famous F. G. Goode department store, in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks, the women in black are girding themselves for the Christmas rush. Among the staff are Patty Williams with her wayward husband Frank, the sweet but unlucky Fay, faithful Mrs Jacob of the measuring tape, and Lisa, the new Sales Assistant (Temporary), who is waiting for the results of her Leaving Certificate. Across the floor and beyond the arch, Lisa will meet the glamorous Continental refugee, Magda, guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns.
With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence.
This wry debut...focuses on the loneliness and ennui of three department store employees. These women, identically attired in black dresses that serve as uniforms, work in the Ladies' Frocks Department at Goode's, a store in Sydney, Australia. Each suffers from long-standing unhappiness revolving one way or another around the opposite sex...During the frenzied Christmas shopping season, each saleswoman indirectly confronts her problem and attains contentment * Publishers Weekly * A delicious book. Funny and happy, it's like the breath of youth again -- Jane Gardam The book I most often give as a gift to cheer people up -- Hilary Mantel * Guardian *
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