Product detail

The Essence of the Thing

The Essence of the Thing

Author: Madeleine St John
Series: Text Classics
$12.95 (AUD)  inc GST
Available Stock: 1

'My mother sent you this,' he said. 'Oh?' 'I believe it's some marmalade,' he said. 'From the latest batch.' 'How kind,' said Nicola, opening the bag. 'You haven't told them, then?' 'Told them what?' 'That we're no longer in a shared marmalade situation...' Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this brilliant novel from Madeleine St John, author of The Women in Black, is a comic and tender look at the vicissitudes of love and relationships. Nicola should never have stepped out to buy that pack of cigarettes, because the man she discovers in her living room when she returns is not the adorable, straightforward, devoted Jonathan with whom she has been sharing her life. That Jonathan would never have unilaterally decided that she should, as he abruptly put it, 'move out'. A shocked Nicola packs her bags and sets out bravely on the bumpy course that will take her from the end of an affair to the essence of the thing. This edition of The Essence of the Thing comes with an introduction by Helen Trinca, Madeleine St John's biographer.

Promotion info

* Extract from Helen Trinca's introduction to be placed in a major Australian newspaper * Helen Trinca to speak about Madeleine St John at select events in NSW and Queensland * Significant budget for print advertising including literary magazines and bookseller catalogues * Banner advertising on bookseller websites * Online promotions, including advertising and giveaways, on Facebook and Twitter * Promotions and giveaways with targeted subscriber groups * Featured in Text newsletters and website


Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 1997


'Brisk, sophisticated and artful.' --New York Times Book Review

'St John's intelligence transforms a simple story into a much larger commentary on love and loss.' --Mademoiselle

'Using spare prose, sparkling dialogue and painfully true observations on family life, St John creates a winning combination of humour and pathos.' --Publishers Weekly

Author description

Madeleine St John was born in Sydney in 1941. Her father, Edward, was a barrister and Liberal politician. Her mother, Sylvette, committed suicide in 1954, when Madeleine was twelve. Sylvette's death, Madeleine later said, 'obviously changed everything'. St John studied Arts at Sydney University, where her contemporaries included Bruce Beresford, Germaine Greer, Clive James and Robert Hughes. In 1965 she married Chris Tillam, a fellow student, and they moved to the United States where they first attended Stanford and later Cambridge. From Cambridge, St John relocated to London in 1968. The couple did not reunite and the marriage ended. St John settled in Notting Hill. She worked at a series of odd jobs, and then, in 1993, published her first novel, The Women in Black, the only book she set in Australia. When her third novel, The Essence of the Thing (1997), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, she became the first Australian woman to receive this honour. St John died in 2006.

Stock Information

General Fields

  • : 9781922079725
  • : Text Publishing Co
  • : The Text Publishing Company
  • : June 2013
  • : 201mm X 131mm X 17mm
  • : Australia
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : New Ed
  • : 272
  • : Madeleine St John