Free Classics: My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. Some of you may recall a brilliant movie some years back of the same name. It was based on this novel which was written when the author was a teenager. She went on to become a very popular author in her country of Australia. You can judge for yourself as to how childish or novel-like it sounds. I think not. The movie was presented as memoir.

Here is a sample:

Possum Gully was stagnant–stagnant with the narrow stagnation prevalent in all old country places.
Its residents were principally married folk and children under sixteen. The boys, as they attained manhood, drifted outback to shear, drove, or to take up land. They found it too slow at home, and besides there was not room enough for them there when they passed childhood.

Nothing ever happened there. Time was no object, and the days slid quietly into the river of years, distinguished one from another by name alone.

And:

“I will go and earn my own living, and when you get me weeded out of the family you will have a perfect paradise. Having no evil to copy, the children will grow up saints,” I said bitterly.

“Now, Sybylla, it is foolish to talk like that, for you know that you take no interest in your work. If you’d turn to and help me rear poultry and make dresses–and why don’t you take to cooking?”

“Take to cooking!” I retorted with scorn. “The fire that a fellow has to endure on that old oven would kill a horse, and the grit and dirt of clearing it up grinds on my very nerves. Besides, if I ever do want to do any extra fancy cooking, we either can’t afford the butter or the currants, or else the eggs are too scarce! Cook, be grannied!”

“Sybylla! Sybylla, you are getting very vulgar!”

“Yes, I once was foolish enough to try and be polite, but I’ve given it up. My style of talk is quite good enough for my company. What on earth does it matter whether I’m vulgar or not. I can feed calves and milk and grind out my days here just as well vulgar as unvulgar,” I answered savagely.

There is an account of drought here which will remind readers of Jill Ker Conway’s excellent Australian memoir, The Road from Coorain. The movie was “fair dinkum” and it is a rare book that isn’t better than the movie!

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