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The Railwayman's Wife

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781473676480

Price: £8.99

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‘So poised and beautiful … She can’t write a bad sentence’ Guardian
‘Melancholic, but in the best possible way’ Lady
‘Exquisitely written and deeply felt … a true book of wonders’ Geraldine Brooks
‘A lovely, absorbing, and uplifting read.’ M.L. Stedman
‘Overflows with gratitude for the hard, beautiful things of this world’ Helen Garner

In 1948 in a small town on the land’s edge, in the strange space at a war’s end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.

Anikka Lachlan has all she ever wanted–until a random act transforms her into another post-war widow, destined to raise her daughter on her own. Awash in grief, she looks for answers in the pages of her favourite books and tries to learn the most difficult lesson of all: how to go on living.

A local poet, Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. His childhood friend Dr. Frank Draper also seeks to reclaim his pre-war life but is haunted by his failure to help those who needed him most–the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

Then one day, on the mantle of her sitting room, Ani finds a poem. She knows neither where it came from, nor who its author is. But she has her suspicions. An unexpected and poignant love triangle emerges, between Ani, the poem, and the poet–whoever he may be.

Written in clear, shining prose, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings – and how difficult it can be to tell them apart. It is an exploration of life, tragedy, and joy, of connection and separation, longing and acceptance, and an unadulterated celebration of love.


Ashley Hay's beautiful romance of grief and love [is] set in the escarpment landscape that once enchanted D.H. Lawrence Everything about this novel - sudden loss, unexpected love, misdirected hope and desire, as well as the mysterious power of the written word and the candescence of the coastal landscape itself - is expressed with a profound understanding of every nuance of emotion. The Railwayman's Wife illuminates the deepest places of the human heart.
Debra Adelaide, author of Letter to George Clooney
A beautifully rendered and psychologically acute picture ... Finally, though, Thirroul itself emerges as a central presence in the novel ... we know D.H. Lawrence got in first ... Yet it is fair to say Hay, who spent her childhood in the same town, brings her own poetry to bear... in a manner that recalls the sour-sweet best of Michael Ondaatje's fiction. Another author, Ford Madox Ford, began his The Good Soldier by claiming, "This is the saddest story." It isn't. That title rightly belongs to The Railwayman's Wife.
Geordie Williamson, The Australian
Exquisitely written and deeply felt, The Railwayman's Wife is limpid and deep as the rock pools on the coastline beloved by this book's characters and just as teeming with vibrant life. Ashley Hay's novel of love and pain is a true book of wonders.
Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of YEAR OF WONDERS
A fine evocation of place and time - a vivid love letter to a particular corner of post-war Australia. Ashley Hay writes with subtle insight about grief and loss and the heart's voyage through and beyond them. It's a lovely, absorbing, and uplifting read
M.L. Stedman, author of THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS
A beautifully attentive study of what comes after - after a funeral, after a war - and Ashley Hay is a wise and gracious guide through this fascinating territory. This is a book in which grief and love are so entwined they make a new and wonderful kind of sense.
Fiona McFarlane, author of THE NIGHT GUEST
A book that overflows with gratitude for the hard, beautiful things of this world, and for the saving worlds of our imagination.
Helen Garner
I love Ashley Hay's writing ... it's so poised and beautiful. And I know Ashley, and she writes as she is. I always like that in a person: when the writing that they do is very much the person that you get, it has an integrity about it that I enjoy ... She can't write a bad sentence
Melancholic, but in the best possible way