Australian Author Marion Halligan - Word Artist
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Australian author Marion Halligan admits that her life has been 'centred in domesticity' and this is where she draws on much of the material for her fiction. This could also be a reason why her work has been critically overlooked. Halligan is adept at capturing details of life in the domestic realm and weaving poignant, thought-provoking stories about experiences all of us can recognise in our own lives. It does not take the discerning reader long to discover the deeper considerations in her writing. According to Halligan, 'the world is a cruel and dark and difficult place and it is words that light the small candle flames that keep the dark at bay'. Words and writing are essential to Halligan's life. In an essay titled 'Why I Write', she says: 'I write in order to put the world into words. I've always done that in my head. I can't perceive anything without trying to find words for it'. Halligan's writing is an evocative exploration of the human condition. For Halligan, 'it is artists showing you what they see that educates the heart, in novels, in paintings, in photographs'. The following essay examines three of Halligan's novels which feature an artist protagonist who is struggling to come to terms with the experience of loss, grief and bereavement. Lovers' Knots (1992), The Golden Dress (1998) and The Fog Garden (2001) are rich evocations of lives which are 'a walk with love and death ... The same subjects as the Greeks, and Shakespeare. [The] characters aren't kings and queens, aren't noble and grand, but their passions are as real'.