Oddballs and Anguish: The Dressmaker

The DressmakerThe Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham

Tilly Dunnage left her hometown of Dungatar in rural Australia under a black cloud of accusation. Years later Tilly, now a couturier for the Paris fashion houses, returns home to make amends with her mentally unstable mother. Mid-century Dungatar is a small town, and small towns have long memories and when the eccentric townsfolk turn on Tilly for a second time, she decides to teach them a lesson and exact long-overdue revenge…

First Impressions: This novel is so small town Australia… How wonderful!

Highlights: I could fully visualise this novel as a film in my mind without even trying… Strictly Ballroom meets Priscilla meets Muriel’s Wedding. I love it how each character has so many quirky secrets; oddballs that could only exist in Australia. Although the story is set mid-century it could be set today which is a bit scary if you want to think about small communities. The very dark humour had me smirking throughout yet this humour is intermittently checked by a moment of overwhelming sadness. Such brilliant writing. More needs to be made of Australian gothic literature. I remember seeing this novel in bookshops when it was published but feel upset I only got around to reading it after it had been made into a film.

If I was an editor: I don’t know if this will appeal to an international market but Aussies should relish it.

Overall: A flamin’ fair dinkum Aussie novel. Strewth!

The Dressmaker: 5 Stars