Read Missus by Ruth Park Online


Missus takes us behind the lives of Hughie and Mumma, out of the gritty realism of inner city slum life and into the past of the stations, the bush and the country towns.We meet them as they were in the early 1920s, drifter Hugh Darcy, the unwilling hero who sweeps the dreamily innocent Margaret Kilker off her feet. Ruth Park richly creates the turmoil of those early daysMissus takes us behind the lives of Hughie and Mumma, out of the gritty realism of inner city slum life and into the past of the stations, the bush and the country towns.We meet them as they were in the early 1920s, drifter Hugh Darcy, the unwilling hero who sweeps the dreamily innocent Margaret Kilker off her feet. Ruth Park richly creates the turmoil of those early days of their courtship in the dusty outback, filled with beautifully drawn characters that will make you laugh as much as cry.Ruth Park�s Australian classics take you from the barren landscapes of the outback to the colourful slums of Sydney with convincing depth, careful detail and great heart....

Title : Missus
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780170065948
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 247 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Missus Reviews

  • Judith Johnson
    2018-09-21 10:11

    I have so much enjoyed reading Ruth Park's trilogy, and am very grateful to the Twitter buddy read friend who recommended The Harp in the South for an Aussie read. My knowledge of Australian literature is skimpy (have read maybe only less than a dozen books), and all of my family were amazed never to have heard of Ruth Park - as we all love reading. I've never felt a desire to travel to Australia, but after reading these, one has been planted in my heart! I read the three books in publication order (always prefer to do that!) and have found them beautifully written and very moving. I guess they belong in the same company as another favourite of mine - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and also perhaps How Green Was My Valley: well-told stories with wonderful characters, lovingly drawn. None of these would perhaps be picked by the cerebral editors of the broadsheets, but millions of folks have read and loved them over the years. I am certainly now stimulated to search out more books set in Australia.

  • M.J. Johnson
    2018-09-28 08:00

    I think this is actually my favourite book out of The Harp in the South trilogy - but the whole series is a joy to read! It is beautifully written and very insightful into the lives of the men and women it follows. I read this last because Park wrote it in that order.If interested, see my reviews for Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange very good reading the whole series - deserve to be considered classics of Australian literature!

  • Hermien
    2018-09-27 08:49

    Lovely Australian story and characters.

  • Davida
    2018-10-01 11:06

    The first in the Harp in the South trilogy by an enigmatic Australian author. Felt like you were transported back in time.

  • Caitlin
    2018-09-26 13:14

    (Disclaimer: I am actually reviewing the whole trilogy, so I have copied and pasted this review for all three books)Having previously only read Ruth Park’s books for children and adults, I decided time was well overdue to get around to her “Harp in the South” trilogy – which had actually begun with “A Harp in the South” before she followed it with “Poor Man’s Orange”, then she wrote the prequel “Missus.” So even though I had read them in order of the family’s story, they were written and published in a different order and I do believe they should actually be read in the publication order (ie start with the second one.) This is because I feel as though things were “revealed” in the prequel that I feel are more powerful when read in retrospect.I had started reading the book in print (but can’t remember why this got abandoned – I think I had to return the library copy) so I discovered the Bolinda audio versions of all three, and having the same narrator across the three stories was great. I picked up this story pretty much the day after finishing “A Little Life” and I was immediately struck by Park’s economical use of language, her ability to draw very distinct characters and to be able to fit a lot of story within a single chapter.The books take us into the world of the Sydney slums – which has now sadly disappeared under developments and “improvements.” The characters are warm, distinct and good people in spite of their circumstances. Although they have uncharitable thoughts about people based very much on stereotypes (the religious differences, attitudes to migrants etc) their actions, which are much more important, speak so much more. It’s hard to really specify why these stories are so important to understanding a large section of Australia’s past – it’s not a perfect trilogy of books by any means, and at times there’s a lot that made me seriously cringe – but despite having a journalist’s ear for recording the daily minutiae of slum life, Park was able to take a step back and show perspective on the microcosm they lived in that goes beyond just a kitchen sink drama. I especially drew a lot out of how second and third generation Australians found their new identities while retaining the habits of the “Old Country” and the ghosts of previous family members. I think it’s important to read the books without seeing the movies, adaptations or various talks – although these are well worth visiting afterwards – and I see why “Harp in the South” was on so many school syllabuses (although I’d be disappointed if they aren’t today) in spite of being so scandalous when first published. The story of the books and their publication do provide an interesting context to the story Park was trying to tell and the circumstances they came from (basically Park was writing the books from within a setting not too dissimilar to her characters’ lives.) I would like to now explore her memoirs to know more about where these stories came from and how Park interpreted them.

  • C.S. Burrough
    2018-09-24 13:05

    Like all exceptional novelists, Ruth Park employs a simplistic yet captivating insight of the human condition. This sets her work apart from the workaday potboiler that simply churns out juicy formulaic plotlines. Her work is purely character driven, their storylines organic by-products of characters' endearing quirks and peculiar choices. This is what makes her a literary writer, rather than a fast fiction or romance machine of the Barbara Cartland ilk. Her characters are blessed and burdened with the virtues, shortcomings and consequent dilemmas of ourselves and our loved ones, universal qualities and quandaries that resonate with our inner philosopher. Her settings, whether city slum or outback dustbowl, are vivid, poignant and glorious. Her understated period detail is delicious in the many flashbacks. So completely does she transport us to other times and places, we feel that gratifying sense of escape that we read for. This raw literary talent shines across all three novels in the series.This third and final instalment in Park's prestigious trilogy, the prequel, Missus, begins in the 1920s. Our beloved established characters become less central presences, absentee players for much of the novel, contemplated and discussed by others. I would have liked more focus on our familiar people, less on their multitudinous forebears and offsiders. I was interested in the trajectory of Hughie and Margaret's pairing, prior to their Sydney transfer and offspring that form the next two novels. I appreciated this necessity of new protagonists. What I had not envisaged was their persistent dominance and high numbers, many being arguably quite extraneous. Though some were absorbing, this matrix of 'others' pushes aside our special people. Whilst feeling compensated with certain of Park's other characters, I skimmed many of their scenes, picking out my own characters' episodes, tying in their histories. Though this perhaps typifies prequels, it was also as if Park became uneasy staying with these characters from previous instalments, or just too bored with them to give them the space I wanted for them.Or maybe we're meant to approach this as a standalone piece. If so, then the publisher's pitching becomes questionable. None of the above issues affect the quality of prose, as rich, even richer in parts, than in the other two The Harp in the South books, perhaps because by this book she was nearly forty years more practised than with the first two. Missus, like its sibling novels, transcends family saga into a wider social critique, an intimate study of human emotion. Its stylistic supremacy is evident from the opening lines, hence my four stars despite my other misgivings covered here. This is interwar regional Australia, its ethos, its people, its places, told by one of the finest.

  • Sophie
    2018-10-03 10:13

    Was really disappointed with this book. Intended to read the trilogy back to back, but will have a break before I move on to part 2. Limited storyline dragged out for a whole book. I love Playing Beatie Bow, but this book was completely lacking that magic.

  • Amy
    2018-10-20 07:49

    It was an interesting story. There were a lot of characters and the stories intertwined. It reminded me of a soap opera set in the early 1900's.

  • Geoff Wooldridge
    2018-10-11 12:49

    Ruth Park migrated from New Zealand to Australia as a young woman to make a life and family with fellow author D'Arcy Niland. She was a prolific writer of both children's' and adult stories. She is probably best known for her stories about the Darcy family, a couple with Irish roots who settle in the slums of Surry Hills in Sydney in the 1930s to raise a family. Park drew on her own experiences to write these books. which are The Harp In the South and Poor Man's Orange, written in the late 1940s.To complete the trilogy, Park has written Missus, effectively a prequel, almost 40 years later, to provide the back story for Hugh Darcy and his wife Margaret, nee Kilker, who became known as Mumma.This is a quintessentially Australian story, set in rural towns and properties, during the period from the late 19th century, through WWI, and to the early days of the Great Depression.Hugh Darcy and his crippled brother Jer come from a dysfunctional family and are left to fend for themselves from a relatively young age. Hugh is full of youthful exuberance and recklessness and Jer is afraid of being abandoned.Margaret Kilker is one of the many children of John and Rowena (Eny), pretty, buxom and anxious to find a suitable marriage partner, who falls for the unreliable Hugh.Despite a number of trials and setbacks, they eventually marry with the normal hopes, dreams and anxieties, both despite and because of their relative poverty and difficult circumstances.You will need to read the other two books in the trilogy to find out what becomes of Hugh and Mumma.As usual, Park's writing is sharp, eloquent and intelligent, capturing early Australian rural life beautifully - she does remarkably well for a Kiwi who only lived in urban Australia. The plot is carefully textured to maintain interest, and there are a range of fascinating minor characters that make up the community so sparklingly portrayed.There were parts that reminded me a lot of Patrick White's Tree of Man.I didn't love this book quite as much as other Ruth Park books I have read, but it was nevertheless pretty enjoyable.Some parts of the book, especially the ending, seemed a bit rushed and short-changed, and there were other side stories to the main plot that could have been given a little less detailed attention.

  • Tien
    2018-09-29 08:48

    I’ve only read Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park which I loved… but then again, young adult/time travel is a most favourite genre of mine so that’s not big surprise. Missus being the first book of a well-loved Australian trilogy, Harp in the South, is quite different in spirit. And to be honest, I’m not too sure I’m keen on it… I feel so much pressure, sometimes, to love the classics and so, feel that I really have to dig deep for a reason why I’m not enjoying the story. Life in colonial Australia was hard for both men and women. This novel is set in between the depression period when things were looking better at the start and ended with a worrying outlook. If you don’t have a stable job, you’d go on & become a rouseabout (“An unskilled labourer or odd jobber on a farm, especially in a shearing shed”) which means that move from place to place, whoever is hiring at the time. It’s not an easy life, hard work and fairly lonely. Of course, you get away with a lot of other things too, though sometimes, they do catch up to you! This is Hughie. I found it hard to sympathise with him for he is an unsteady sort of chap though ‘likeable’ but not one you could depend on. He had a reason for his skittishness but he does get carried away sometimes.On the other hand, the novel also features a number of strong women with diverse perspectives. Each of these women fought for a future they could live with. It may not what society (or even your parents) deem is right or good for you but one you could tolerate, if not, be happy with. Things were truly awful for women back then and my heart fairly broke for each of these women. They all longed for different things and despite, at times, in spite, of opposition they found their destinies.

  • Sean Kennedy
    2018-09-25 08:07

    (2.5 / 5)I love The Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange, but this 'prequel' written thirty years after the original can in no way live up to the expectations set by the others. The characters are inconsisten and often bear little resemblance to who they become. I know some of this can be explained away with age differences, but they are so far removed. There are also characters who are an important part of the narrative but never mentioned in the earlier (but chronologically later) novels. It just doesn't add up, that close siblings and the like never get talked about. What happened to them in the years between novels? It's kind of like Leia saying she remembered her mother in Return of the Jedi, whereas in the prequels Lucas made Padme die of childbirth. Readers are smarter thn you think.

  • Petersong
    2018-10-20 11:54

    Ruth Park wrote Missus almost 30 years after "The Harp in the South" although it is set before it. I enjoyed the insight it provided into the lot of some Irish immigrants and their families as they happily struggle living in Australian country towns. I can picture the fiesty Eny, the Darcy family matriarch, who is portrayed so well in this book growing into the grandmother so well portrayed by Gwen Plumb in the 1980's television series of "The Harp in the South". The loyalty of "soft lump of a girl", Margaret, to the unreliable, selfish but likable Hughie is endearing. You know that her life with him will be full of disappointments but she is happy to accept this.I look forward to reading "The Harp in the South" and "Poor Man's Orange".

  • Emmeline
    2018-10-15 10:59

    Missus is not the kind of book I would normally read, but I got it for Christmas last year and it fits the challenge. I guess that's part of the fun of a challenge like this: You expand your reading range.I have never read a book that was set in 1920s Australia before, which seems like a surprising omission. It was an interesting perspective. What Parks lacks in overarching plot she makes up for in character depth. Each character, no matter how minor, is given a backstory and their own ongoing drama, to the extent that you can forget who the main characters actually are.My best indication for how much I enjoyed this was that I kept catching myself turning pages really fast, then thinking, "Am I really into this sort of book?"Apparently, I am.

  • Amanda Rosso
    2018-09-19 09:15

    I haven't read The Harp in the South so can't comment on other peoples criticisms of this prequel. Park paints a picture of a very different Australia, at how men's and women's roles and lives were clearly circumscribed by their sex, the church and the cultural norms of the Irish in Australia and the Australian culture of the time . The tension revolves around the conditions in which the main characters grow up and the circumstances of their meeting and coming together. It is a little anticlimactic but that is because I'm reading it in the knowledge that it was a much later written prequel.

  • jeniwren
    2018-10-17 15:56

    What are delight to discover an Australian classic and a new author in Ruth Park. This being the first of The Harp In The South Trilogy which follows the Darcy family from their beginnings as Irish immigrants and their new life in Australia. The Harp in The South has been chosen for discussion with my f2f bookgroup and pleased now to be acquainted with Mrs and Mrs Darcy as we take up the next chapter of their married life from country Trafalgar to the slums of Sydney.

  • Oriyah Nitkin
    2018-10-09 11:48

    While reading this book I thought I'd give it 3 stars. The writing was decent, the story interesting enough. I found the pacing of the book to be interesting as it gave me a sense of extreme rapidity while progressing at what was probably in reality a fairly normative pace.The decent into 2 stars is due to the fact that this book was so unremarkable that, 3 days after reading it, I can hardly remember a thing. An unimpressive book deserves, in my opinion, an unimpressive rating.

  • Adrian
    2018-10-17 16:18

    I read this by mistake, thinking it was 'The Harp in the South', but instead finding it the first part of the trilogy by Ruth Park. I found it an interesting romp through early Irish-Australian-Catholic history, set in rural Australia, perhaps giving me an insight into the likely lives of my own forebears. To keep my fellow book clubbers happy, I'll plod through the second part, which is titled 'The Harp in the South', which moves the story to Depression life in Sydbey.

  • Chris Walker
    2018-10-17 07:49

    This book is a warm-hearted family "soap" distinguished by Ruth Park's intelligent rendering of the characters and their interplay. The story may only appeal to those interested in good yarns about Irish Catholic immigrants and their culture but for those who understand and sympathise with the characters' old fashioned hopes and dreams this book is a delight.

  • Judith Pembleton
    2018-10-09 10:15

    An early feminist, struggling with the inevitability of marriage and propriety for Catholic girls of the depression years, and continuing her theme of a young male with a physical deformity, this time with an older brother, going from job to job in the harsh downturns of post WW1 Australia.

  • Sharon
    2018-10-14 16:13

    The book started off well but tended to jump around a bit, from person to person, from present to past. Sometimes it was difficult to know if it was in the past or present that things were happening. But all in all it was an interesting read.

  • Anita
    2018-10-08 08:05

    Great characters. Interesting this was written after Harp in the South. Such great characters in that book she had to create another to tell the story of how they came to be! Beautiful writing as always.

  • Kate
    2018-09-20 11:48

    As good as Poor Man's Orange and nearly as good Harp in the South.

  • Kim Bo
    2018-09-20 11:54

    Engaging and interesting, feels rushed and a bit silly in places. The psychology of the Margaret/Hugh match is interesting.

  • Maxine
    2018-09-24 08:02

    Disjointed in style, but enjoyable.

  • Marjorie
    2018-09-28 14:08

    Lots of interesting Aussie words and descriptions.

  • Sharon
    2018-10-10 09:12

    not the greatest, but ok

  • Bec
    2018-10-17 09:11

    Can't go wrong with Ruth Park. If Tim Winton is my king of Australian fiction, she's the queen.

  • Åsta Mari Aune
    2018-10-13 13:08

    Milde himmel. Når en forfatter man i utgangspunktet liker, avspiser en med sånt ettermiddagsseriemøl mellom to permer, mister man trua på både livet og litteraturen.

  • Karren
    2018-10-08 09:56

    The 1st of the Harp in the south novels. Amazed at the harshness of life and love in Australia in those times. Margaret was an amazing young woman, Darcy a tyrant! Loved Eny, Margaret's mum