“Staying : a memoir” is the recently released memoir by Australian writer Jessie Cole, who is the author of 2 works of fiction, “Darkness on the edge of town” and, “Deeper water”. Both works of fiction are beautifully written and look at the relationships of people living in rural areas, out of town, and how their lives are interwoven with the elements of nature. Having read both of these beautiful works of fiction, I was very intrigued to read this memoir.
The memior is quite overwhelming to read. Jessie is incredibly generous and trusting to share the story of her childhood, which is incomprehensibly tragic, and her early adult life. From the very beginning of the book she lets the reader know that her father committed suicide while she was a teenager and the memoir then relates the series of events that lead to this devastating death. Jessie and her brother are the children of her father’s second marriage, they also have two older sisters from his first marriage, and their early upbringing in a small country town is totally carefree. This idyllic existence is suddenly shattered by the news that one of her older sisters has committed suicide while living overseas.
Jessie then descibes her father’s inability to cope with this death and how his gradual disintergration and eventual death impacts the rest of the family, resulting in lasting consequences. It is quite incredible the way she is able to convey the absolute sadness of the whole situation in a totally non-judgemental way despite the fact that the rest of the family have suffered dreadfully, and both she and her brother have had their childhoods severely affected.
This memoir is a beautifully written, just like Jessie’s previous works of fiction. It is also very brave to able to set down in the form of a memoir the heart wrenching story of her own family. Jessie’s style of writing is truly captivating and I look forward to her next work – whether it is fiction of non-fiction.