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Ilsa Evans is an Australian author who lives in a partially-renovated house in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges, along with several offspring, assorted pets and an ever-expanding colony of uninvited possums. She has written eight books, all print published by Pan Macmillan Australia, which range from light fiction, set within the mayhem of life in the suburbs, to more serious subject matter such as euthanasia or family break-ups. Two novels, 'Broken' and 'Sticks & Stones', tell the story of an abused woman and are largely based on the findings of a PhD (on the long-term effects of domestic violence) that Ilsa completed in 2005. Next on her agenda is a foray into crime fiction, along with a non-fiction book about middle-age for women, titled 'The Invisible Woman, and other remarkable phenomena of middle-age'.
on March 17, 2012 :
I first discovered Ilsa Evans books when I picked up a copy of Spin cycle at the library. I enjoyed the book so much on my next visit I searched for more of her titles and was delighted to discover Spin Cycle was the first in her lighthearted short series which also included Drip Dry and Odd Socks and found two other books as well (Each Way Bet; Flying The Coop: A Free Range Tree Change or Has She Made the Worst Mistake of Her Life, all of which I read in a week. It was a some time later I believe before I stumbled across Broken) which was a marked departure from her previous novels, dealing with domestic violence, followed by The Family Tree and Sticks and Stones with similarly serious themes examining family tragedy.
'ones a poner time' gives some context to the seemingly radical shift in focus for Ilsa's fiction. A melange of humour, tragedy, joy and sorrow, Evans reveals her phobia of hair ribbons, the nightmare of an abusive marriage, her grief at the loss of much loved family members and and her pride in raising three lovely children on her own.
The book is divided into titled chapters providing a glimpse into Ilsa's life. Some of the vignettes had me laughing in recognition and sympathy such as when Ilsa was caught truanting by her mother, cowering on the floor of the bus, defrosting a guinea pig who miraculously survived a flooded pen and the trials (offset by the joys) of motherhood. I can see how these types of events were the genesis for Evan's lighthearted family fiction.
Evans is very candid about the more difficult parts of her life including her father's tragic illness, an abortion and miscarriage, a chilling childhood abduction attempt, and most notably her experience of domestic violence. It seems to me that her later published work, is a way of processing the emotions and memories of these events, perhaps buoyed by the confidence gained in her earlier publishing success. Evans is quite matter of fact about the tragedy she has experienced, sharing it not to garner sympathy but to acknowledge that she has moved past these seminal events to become a stronger woman.
A collection of 'memories and musings' this self published title tells the story of Ilsa's past, and how it has shaped her present as a woman, a mother and an author. Well written and very readable, I found 'ones a poner time' entertaining and interesting and recommend it, especially to fans of this talented writer.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 15, 2012 :
Those familiar with Ilsa Evans' fiction works will find the same humour and heartbreak in 'Onse a poner time', a memoir that exposes both the good and the not so good times of Ms Evans' life. This book does not shy away from those things that are often judged harshly by some in society, from exploits in the armed forces to issues that are deeply personal in life, love and relationships. It would be easy to brand this book as an example of the triumph of the human spirit, the strength of surviving the sometimes awful things that life can throw at people. Instead I would call it an example of how our experiences can shape us without being the means by which we are defined.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)