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The Nearly Happy Family
Penguin Books Australia
  • Catherine M McKinnon, University of Wollongong
Document Type
Creative Work
Publication Date
1-1-2008
Publication Details

Catherine M. McKinnon, The Nearly Happy Family, Penguin Books Australia, Camberwell, 2008, 461p.

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RESEARCH IMPACT STATEMENT

RESEARCH BACKGROUND

Contemporary investigations into narrative question the idea of reliable narration, but popular storytelling forms often use stable narratives to portray traditional familial values, thereby disregarding the diverse arrangements that exist in contemporary society. Conversely, they may employ unreliable narration to portray ‘alternative’ familial structures as unique. This research examines the social impact of changing family structures in eighties and nineties Australia.

RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION

This novel uses unreliable narration to develop a fresh approach to the popular novel, and in particular, the ‘personal story’, as a means of investigating the impulses that underlie notions of family stability, happiness, and normality. In doing so it creates a representation of same-sex families and alternative heterosexual relationships as an inherent part of the wider social environment.

RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE

‘The Nearly Happy Family’ was reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Book Review, The Adelaide Advertiser, The Sun Herald, The Townsville Bulletin, and The Independent Weekly. Reviews described this book as ‘A convincing and engaging portrait of a family’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 06/28/2008), saying it ‘delivers the untidiness of family life with humour and pathos’ (The Age 06/07/2008).

RIS ID
36439
Citation Information
Catherine M McKinnon. "The Nearly Happy Family" Penguin Books Australia Vol. Camberwell, Victoria (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/catherine_mckinnon/2/