'Sting me (but only with honey, please) to keep me buzzing,’ Christina Stead appealed late in her life. She was at last beginning to gain recognition for her innovative fiction, her novels were being reprinted and reviewers were appreciative of her new writing. It is typical that, at this moment of fresh fame, she started having problems with a new electric typewriter which seemed to be out of control and she couldn’t work out how to change the ribbon.
Chris Williams’s biography of Christina Stead compiles a wealth of fascinating anecdotes drawn from previously unpublished archive sources. ‘I was determined to make enough money some day to have the right clothes,’ Stead confesses: ‘I must admit that I’ve got rather a weakness for shoes. And gloves. Yes, and hats’.