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About the Author

Anna Funder has been writer-in-residence at the Australia Center in Potsdam, Germany.
Image credit: Credit: John Gollings

Obras de Anna Funder

Associated Works

The Best Australian Essays 2007 (2007) — Contribuinte — 21 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



Wifedom is a biographical work by Australian author Anna Funder, recreating the story of Eileen O’Shaughnessy, the wife of George Orwell. This is blended with anecdotes from her own life, some fictional scenes, and some commentary or speculation on the motivations involved in the couple’s life.

Eileen was married to George from 1936 until her death in 1945, and this incorporates time spent in the Spanish War and also in London during the Blitz. Her story is largely recreated from a handful of letters more recently discovered, and from examining and commentating on previous biographies.

The main point is that, despite Eileen being an Oxford graduate, a writer, an intelligent and capable woman who made a significant contribution to both Orwell’s life and work, she is largely erased by history and Orwell himself. There is the classic inequity in household chores, and her aspirations are put on hold to support his. There is also the irony that, despite Orwell being very aware of power inequities in a general sense, he seems oblivious to the abuse of power in his treatment of women, even when he is non-consensually jumping on women or buying girls for a few coins.

Funder makes some important points, but I found this became very repetitive early on. I also dislike having things interpreted for me, I prefer as a reader to draw my own conclusions. I found the shift between Eileen’s life, Funder’s opinions, and her own life anecdotes somewhat jarring. This conscious, very present narrator style distracts from the reader’s ability to become immersed in the story. Lastly, in a story purporting to recreate an invisible woman’s life, it was irony of ironies that the audiobook continued on for another two hours after her death. In other words her story is yet again railroaded and taken over by a man’s!
… (mais)
mimbza | outras 4 resenhas | Apr 9, 2024 |
Not as riveting as I’d expected it to be, given I’d really enjoyed Funder’s previous books and I’d read many reviews.
My chief gripe: too many suppositions for a work claiming to be non fiction. The author’s outrage with Orwell was clear (and often warranted) but viewing Orwell and Eileen’s relationship through 21st century eyes doesn’t cut it for me. I’m not defending Orwell at all (he appears to be extremely self-centred, thoughtless and chauvinistic) but I just felt too many judgements were made about what Eileen “must have” thought about various incidents.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have this credibility problem were the book to be marketed as a work of fiction.
… (mais)
1 vote
Mercef | outras 4 resenhas | Mar 30, 2024 |
I didn't care for the characters so had difficulty getting through it.
ellink | outras 52 resenhas | Jan 22, 2024 |
Very, very interesting and thought provoking.
littlel | outras 4 resenhas | Jan 6, 2024 |



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Associated Authors

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Bruno Amato Translator
Carola Kloos Translator
Mireille Vignol Translator
Jorunn Carlsen Translator
Moa-Lisa Björk Translator
Judy Bennett Narrator
Saul Reichlin Narrator


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