The Illustrator by Jill Barclay. Published by Sevenpens (2018)
Available for purchase at Jill Barclay Books
The Illustrator is based on Jill Barclay’s real grandmother, a woman who just disappears. All her life Eileen is sure of one thing – her love of drawing and the desire to be a commercial artist. In the 1920s, Eileen’s talents are well recognised in the Goulburn Valley where she is a farmer’s daughter, but this is a place and time when women can only be wives, mothers and homemakers. A woman choosing a career over her husband and baby is unheard of.
‘Written with an acute eye for the period and a sympathy for the distressing choices a woman might be forced to make The Illustrator offers an alternative history for being female and not ordinary in the first half of last century.’ Helen Elliott
‘Time and place are brilliantly evoked in Jill Barclay’s The Illustrator, which opens in rural Victoria and moves on to Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. The novel traces the unpredictable life journey of a young woman who resists conventional expectations. Deftly shaped and written with imaginative power, this haunting novel confronts us with the mystery of a self-driven personality.’ Brenda Niall
‘Jill Barclay’s The Illustrator demonstrates such richness of imagination, the writing is evocative and full of charm, and the story crackles with unforgettable moments – I was immediately transported.’ Louise Swinn
‘The Illustrator could well reflect Miles Franklin’s character Sybylla Melvyn who turns her back on an offer of a marriage in order to travel and write.’ Dianne Demspey