Between a Wolf and a Dog

Georgia Blain, Between a Wolf and a Dog, $29.99

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

This is a novel that will move you to tears. While completing the work, the writer found out she was suffering from brain cancer, the same fate facing Hilary, one of the characters in the book, and the mother of the main character, Ester. Hilary is widowed and determined to take control of her life and the manner of her death, which she does, independently of her family—food for thought as we all debate the ethics and other issues surrounding end-of-life planning.

Ester is a family therapist, but her own family dynamics and relationships don’t appear to benefit from her professional skills. She is estranged from both her sister and her ex-husband, although by the end of the book you are hopeful there will be some sort of reconciliation, perhaps brought about by the death of their mother.

Although the issues explored are all difficult and often painful, the book is a celebration of the capacity of people to deal with the complexity of everyday life. As one critic said, “…a joyous tribute to the beauty of being alive.”

Georgia Blain’s early death, which occurred a few days before that of her mother, Anne Deveson, is a great sadness for all Australians. Vale two great women.