Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Book: Allegra in Three Parts (July 2019)

By Suzanne Daniel

July 16, 2019

I can split myself in two…something I have to do because of Joy and Matilde.  They are my grandmothers and I love them both and they totally love me but they can’t stand each other.

Eleven-year-old Allegra shuttles between her grandmothers who live next door to one another but couldn’t be more different.  Matilde works all hours and instils discipline, duty and restraint.  She insists that Allegra focus on her studies to become a doctor.

Meanwhile free-spirited Joy is full of colour, possibility and emotion, storing all her tears in little glass bottles.  She is riding the second wave of the woman’s movement in the company of her penny tortoise, Simone de Beauvoir, encouraging Ally to explore broad horizons and live her ‘true essence’.

And then there’s Rick who lives in a flat out the back and finds distraction in gambling and solace in surfing.  He’s trying to be a good father to Al Pal, while grieving the woman who links them all but whose absence tears them apart.

Allegra is left to orbit these three adult worlds wishing they loved her a little less and liked each other a lot more.  Until one day the unspoken tragedy which has created this division explodes within the person they all cherish most.

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