‘A moving and important account of the middle-class family in twentieth-century Australia.’ Frank Bongiorno, Inside Story
An Imperial Affair by award-winning author John Rickard takes us into the marriage of an Australian couple during a time when private lives were properly private but divorce a scandal. It shines a light on the family values and sexual dynamics of this period, conditioned as they were by the imperial relationship and cultural dependence on ‘the mother country’, which inevitably helped shape hopes, fears and desires. This is also the beautifully told story of the writer’s sensitive and courageous quest to understand his parents, Philip and Pearl, and the world he came from and grew up in, its fragile reality filtered through the prism of memory.
Part biography, part autobiography, part social history, An Imperial Affair is also a complex, quintessentially Australian meditation on the nature of love.
John Rickard is the author of H B Higgins: The Rebel as Judge (Age non-fiction Book of the Year 1984), Australia: A Cultural History (1988, 1996, new edition in preparation) and A Family Romance: The Deakins at Home (1996) and has published widely on Australian cultural history and biography. From 1997 to 1998 he was the visiting professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University and in 2007 the Monash Visiting Fellow of Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He is currently an adjunct professor at Monash University. In his youth John Rickard worked as an actor and singer.