Virginia Duigan’s latest novel, The Age of Discretion, was launched on Tuesday 12 March by Robyn Nevin AM, at Gleebooks.
Every seat in the bookstore was filled, buzzing with energy from literary critics, readers and writers alike, actors, directors, film reviewers and opera fanatics.
Robyn Nevin AM gave a speech that moved the audience to laughter, smiles and nearly tears - just as she says of the book:
“I loved this deeply insightful and very funny novel. I was deeply engaged, deeply amused and deeply moved. To tears.”
The Age of Discretion begins when the sex in Vivien Quarry’s thirty-two-year marriage has dwindled to nothing, and her husband Geoff finally gives her a reason: ‘Men are hardwired to not find older women attractive’. At sixty-seven, she most definitely doesn’t feel ‘past it’, and so enlists the services of the enigmatic Martin Glover from The Discretion Agency. Viv embarks on a number of hilarious and somewhat cringe-worthy dates - all with the purpose of proving that living, and love, is not only for the young.
“I found comfort with these people, a fond familiarity, a deep connection. I love my life, but I thought, while immersed in Viv’s life, in her world, that that was where I wanted to be, in that London, in Viv and Geoff’s lived-in comfortable house, in Julia’s glamorous flower filled apartment, or maybe in Joy’s cosy home stitching quilts amongst ‘the feminist quilting circle’…
“And then there’s the inner commentary. Viv, while conducting the awkward initial conversations with her Discretion dates, in a variety of cafes and bars, offers us a vivid running-inner commentary. Hilarious. I marveled at her ability to be so mentally cool and analytical while looking into the eyes of strangers with whom, without any initial spark of any kind, she was actually determining whether she might, quite soon, embark on sexual acts…”
Following a long chain of clapping from the audience, Virginia began her speech. She confirms that the text is definitely not autobiographical (contrary to the belief of many persistent questioners).
“People often persist with this line of questioning, and ask whether I do much research before I start writing. They particularly tend to ask this if they already have some idea of the subject matter. I have in the past made use of anecdotal evidence, and this book is no exception.
“Some of these, the more hair-raising aspects, could be described as total sexual fiascos. Being by nature a cautious person, and also a former journalist, I think of those who supplied me with such details as my sources. And one's sources, as we all know, must remain nameless.”
We couldn’t be happier to have brought Virginia’s book to the world.
To find out more (and perhaps purchase your own copy) click here.