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The Lost Mother – A Story of Art and Love

January 5, 2011
The Lost Mother A Story of Art and Love by Anne Summers

Published by Melbourne University Press

Last year I was browsing through one of those clearinghouse bookshops, on my way home from  work and I found The Lost Mother – A Story of Art and Love by Anne Summers.  It was the cover that grabbed me, before I even picked it up.  Something about the gaze of the girl in the painting that takes up most of the front cover.  When I picked the book up, I learned that the cover art is part of one of the paintings that are the subject of the book.  The girl in the painting is the author’s mother, as a young girl.  The book follows the story of how she came to be approached by a prominent Melbourne artist and asked to sit for two paintings, and the search for the paintings which started with the author’s grandmother writing a letter not long after the paintings were exhibited, to Anne Summers inheriting one of the paintings after her mother’s death and her subsequent search for the history of the paintings, the artist and the other painting.  And learning more about her mother in the process.

The detective work involved is not unlike genealogy.  And the soul searching and personal journey involved in the process is also very similar.  I could relate to both.  In fact this is one of those books that I picked up on a whim, and then didn’t put down again until I had devoured every word.    And then I carried it around in my head for a while and enjoyed it some more.

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