The Other Side of the World

A Novel

The Other Side of the World

In the tradition of The Hours and Revolutionary Road, an “exquisite meditation on motherhood, marriage, and the meaning of home” (The New York Times Book Review), set in England, Australia, and India in the early 1960s.

The only thing harder than losing home is trying to find it again.

Cambridge, 1963. Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes brought on by marriage and parenthood, with never having the time or energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, cannot face the thought of another English winter. A brochure slipped through the mailbox—Australia brings out the best in you—gives him an idea.

Charlotte is too worn out to resist, and before she knows it they are traveling to the other side of the world. But upon their arrival in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on the couple and gradually reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte barely recognizes herself in this place where she is no longer a promising young artist, but instead a lonely housewife venturing into the murky waters of infidelity. Henry, an Anglo-Indian, is slowly ostracized at the university where he teaches poetry. Subtle at first, the ostracism soon invades his entire sense of identity.

Trapped by nostalgia, Charlotte and Henry are both left wondering if there is any place in this world where they truly belong. Which of them will make the attempt to find out? Who will succeed?

“An exquisite and clear-eyed story of the ambiguities of love and creativity, motherhood and migration…It’s a thing of beauty and honesty, as big as the whole unmoored world, and as particular as a family’s moments and moods,” says Ashley Hay, author of The Railwayman’s Wife.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501133138 | 
  • June 2017
List Price $22.00 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Other Side of the World includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Cambridge 1963. Charlotte struggles to reconnect with who she was before children, and to revive her passion for painting. Her husband Henry cannot face the thought of another English winter, so when a brochure is slipped through the letterbox, the message entices him: “Australia brings out the best in you.

Charlotte is too worn out to resist and, before she knows it, she is travelling to the other side of the world. But on their arrival in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte. Charlotte barely recognizes herself in this place where she is no longer a promising young artist but instead a lonely housewife, venturing into the murky waters of infidelity. Henry, an Anglo-Indian, is slowly ostracized at the university where he teaches poetry. Gradually, it’s apparent that their new life is not the answer they hoped for . . .

Topics & Questions for Discussions

1. “Is it easier to love a child, she wonders, than it is to love a wife?” (pg. 150) How do you t see more

About the Author

Stephanie Bishop
Photograph by Craig Peihopa

Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop was named one of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists for her debut novel, The Singing. She holds a PhD from Cambridge University and is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of New South Wales. The Other Side of the World was longlisted for the Stella Prize 2016 and shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards 2016, the Australian/Vogel Literary Award, and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. It won the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2015, as well as the Australian Book Industry Award for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2016.

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