Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Book: The Black Dress (August 2021)

By Deborah Moggach

August 10, 2021

Pru’s husband has walked out, leaving her alone to contemplate her future.  She’s missing not so much him, but the life they once had – picnicking on the beach with small children, laughing together, nestling up like spoons in the cutlery drawer as they sleep.  Now there’s just a dip on one side of the bed and no-one to fill it.

In a daze, Pru goes off to a friend’s funeral.  Usual old hymns, words of praise and a eulogy but … it doesn’t sound like the friend Pru knew.  And it isn’t.  She’s gone to the wrong service.  Everyone was very welcoming, it was – oddly – a laugh, and more excitement than she’s had for ages.  So she buys a little black dress in a charity shop and thinks, now I’m all set, why not go to another?  I mean, people don’t want to make a scene at a funeral, do they?  No-one will challenge her – and what harm can it do?

Sharp, poignant and full of surprises, The Black Dress is a beautifully observed portrayal of loneliness and life, rich with flashes of dark humour and infused with both wisdom and joy.

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