The Place on Dalhousie

The Place on Dalhousie

'You look the type to break your father’s heart.''Yeah, but he broke mine first.’When Rosie Gennaro first meets Jimmy Hailler, she has walked away from life in Sydney, leaving behind the place on Dalhousie that her father, Seb, painstakingly rebuilt for his family but never saw completed. Two years later, Rosie returns to the house and living there is Martha, whom Seb Genn...

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Title:The Place on Dalhousie
Author:Melina Marchetta
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Place on Dalhousie Reviews

  • ALPHAreader

    ‘The Place on Dalhousie’ is the new contemporary fiction novel from Australian author Melina Marchetta. It can be read as a sequel-of-sorts, to where many of the characters within first appeared; in 'Saving Francesca' as teenagers in 2003, and then again in 2010 with 'The Piper’s Son' as young adults. But 'Dalhousie' can also be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone for newcomers to Marchetta’s writing.

    Avid readers though, will also be pleased to learn that two teasing shorts Melina wrote in the le

    ‘The Place on Dalhousie’ is the new contemporary fiction novel from Australian author Melina Marchetta. It can be read as a sequel-of-sorts, to where many of the characters within first appeared; in 'Saving Francesca' as teenagers in 2003, and then again in 2010 with 'The Piper’s Son' as young adults. But 'Dalhousie' can also be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone for newcomers to Marchetta’s writing.

    Avid readers though, will also be pleased to learn that two teasing shorts Melina wrote in the lead-up to this story being told, do appear within; ‘When Rosie Met Jim’ from Review of Australian Fiction, and ‘The Centre’ from the 'Just Between Us' anthology.

    But first – a bit of background on the momentousness of this release.

    Since 'Francesca' came out in 2003, one name has haunted and delighted devout fans of Melina Marchetta’s books – Jimmy Hailler. He was the weird boy that Francesca Spinelli’s disparate friends and broken family collected and gathered close during the events of that book. He is a character that Melina has spoken lovingly about at book events, as being inspired by the students she met during her teaching at an all-boys school. In the beginning of Saving Francesca there appeared to be something a bit “off” about Jimmy – like maybe he was just the bully, one to steer away from. But over the course of that story his decency shone through; he was still quirky and with a lonely broken family, but it became apparent that he was fiercely loyal and caring too.

    Jimmy’s absence from 2010 follow-up book 'The Piper’s Son' was deeply felt – not just by the characters, but the readers too – as it’s revealed after some loss and heartbreak again in his life, Jimmy had taken off to God knows where during the events of that book … in the interim after 'The Piper’s Son' and every time I attended a Melina event, or read an interview with her – the question of Jimmy would inevitably come up. Much like his friends Frankie, Tara, Tom, Justine, Siobhan and their collective families – readers were worried about him, and wanted to know if he was okay. More importantly – they wanted to know if Melina would ever write his story (which is the same thing, in a way.)

    Much as there’s always been something innately lonely about Jimmy, he struck me as a character who best thrived from contact and the collective – so it didn’t surprise me in the least, when I first learned that when she told it, Jimmy’s story wouldn’t be his alone … rather 'The Place on Dalhousie' is Jimmy’s story, and that of the girl that disaster and chance place into his life, as well as that girl’s stepmother whom she has a fraught relationship with.

    Jimmy seemed to shine brightest when he was surrounded, nurtured, and uplifted by the women in his life – Mia Spinelli, Frankie, Tara, Justine, and Siobhan – so it feels utterly right and natural that in 'Dalhousie' we get three points of view of not only Jimmy, but Rosie (the girl) and her stepmother (Martha) too.

    Jimmy and Rosie meet in a Queensland flood in 2010, and then have to reconnect 15-months later in Sydney, when Rosie moves back into her childhood home. The home that her father, Seb, built for her and her mother Loredana – who died of cancer when Rosie was 15, and before the house was finished. Seb married Martha 11 months after her mother died, and Rosie never forgave him – not really – and not even after he died just before she turned 18.

    What Jimmy walks into is a house divided – literally – and about to be finished for the first time since Seb conceived it. Rosie is living upstairs, Martha downstairs at Dalhousie Street, neither of them willing to give ground or back down – Martha wants to sell the place and split the money with Rosie, Rosie just wants Martha gone.

    And this is the fraught setting of the story – at the heart of a family. It’s a book of divisions; not just of the upstairs/downstairs nature of co-existing within the setting, but of divisions within themselves and who they want to be … which sometimes means leaving behind who they were.

    And that’s all I’ll say on the story.

    I started reading these books when I was 16 – the year 'Saving Francesca' came out. And then when 'The Piper’s Son' released, I was 23. I’m 31 this year, and I continue to be gratefully shocked at the timing of Marchetta’s release for these books and characters, who I’m glad seem to follow me to milestones as they live their fictional own. 'The Place on Dalhousie' slotted into my heart as easily as those first two books, and without giving too much away I’ll only say that … Jimmy’s okay. And that’s all I wanted from this story – but I got it, and so much more.

    Melina’s characters have started echoing for me, and I was so glad for those ripples in 'Dalhousie'. It’s not repetition, but foundation that I appreciate – this realisation that one has to come before the other for a story to begin. I felt that about 'Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil'; that read to me like a companion to 'The Piper's Son'. And it’s never more clear to me than in 'Dalhousie' – at the way Melina has written another fiercely complex and messy young woman in Rosie, who I think would get along smashingly with Taylor Markham from 'On The Jellicoe Road', Quintana of Charyn from 'The Lumatere Chronicles' and Violette Zidane from 'Tell the Truth'. I can think of no higher praise for Melina, than saying that she writes young female characters who don’t give a hoot if you like them or not – they’ve been through enough in their life, and trying to be “likeable” and “nice” is low on their list of priorities, and not nearly as important as learning to trust themselves and who to let into their complicated lives. Their flaws make these characters more interesting – not less likeable. Melina makes you work to really know these women, and to love them – but once you do, there’s no going back (as true for readers as other characters).

    I could say that Martha reminds me of Georgie from 'The Piper’s Son' – only because Melina continues to write women of a certain age who are otherwise forgotten in fiction (be it books, TV or film) – she continues to give them interesting high-stakes when society tells them they’re out of the game, and never more than in matters of the heart (Georgie and Sam from 'Piper’s' and Trevanion and Beatriss from 'Lumatere' are among my favourite romances of any book – but go back and read any Melina Marchetta novel and see how effortlessly she weaves interesting intergenerational stories for women of all ages.) I especially got goosebumps when Melina touches on this erasure of older women in the form of back-story for Rosie’s Sicilian grandmother, Eugenia. But actually, something of Martha reminds me of Frankie; in the way they are both the hub for their friends and family, maybe without always meaning to be.

    And Jimmy. I have long thought that Jimmy’s fictional familiar was Froi, from 'The Lumatere Chronicles' – and for so long I thought it was their tragedies that echoed for me. But something clicked with Dalhousie, and a line that Froi says in 'Quintana of Charyn,' when he tells another character;

    Ah, that’s Jimmy. That’s his story;

    He’s the character who’s had the toughest life of all his friends. He’s the one that we’ve all worried about the most, have waited for Melina to tell us that he’s okay.

    But that’s the thing – he would choose the wretched life over and over again, because it lead him here. To Rosie, and Martha. Back to his friends in Sydney (yes, all of them) coming together again like they did when they first started collecting each other in school. And that wretched life leads him to this house and a life, on Dalhousie.

    I thought I pitied Jimmy for the longest time, but here I see my true affection for him – for all these characters, really – lies in accepting the good with the bad. Their flaws and imperfections made them real to me, and I love them more for it. And I am going to miss them so terribly, if this book really is the end.

    But I do leave them here I think, somewhere in Leichhardt (or Stuttgart, London, a little town in Queensland, walking around Haberfield, about to board a train at Central…) being messy and carrying on their lives – making mistakes and seeing them through, being happy and sad but always together, even when they’re apart.

    These characters really do feel like friends, probably because they helped in introducing me to so many in real life (those of us who have grown up around Melina’s stories, and found each other because of them).

    My God I am going to miss them, but I cannot thank the universe enough that they crossed my path …

  • Sana

    THIS WAS EVERYTHING AND MORE. This is it, this is the Jimmy book we've been waiting for and it is so worth the wait. Definitely more of a slow build-up this time around, but I cried so many times it's not even funny. You don't ever think you'll cry over a fictional fucking car but then Melina 'Hold my beer' Marchetta happens

    I like how Rosie is the more practical one and

    THIS WAS EVERYTHING AND MORE. This is it, this is the Jimmy book we've been waiting for and it is so worth the wait. Definitely more of a slow build-up this time around, but I cried so many times it's not even funny. You don't ever think you'll cry over a fictional fucking car but then Melina 'Hold my beer' Marchetta happens

    I like how Rosie is the more practical one and Jimmy can be a crybaby and how they just fit together so well like

    . Martha and Eugenia were great additions and Toto, whose name I totally Googled how to pronounce after the toe-toe scene LOL, plus everyone instantly being smitten with him was to adorable to read about

    So I definitely avoided continuing reading this book for a few days and then when I finally made myself read ahead, Chapter 3 happened and god, I was not prepared for all the feels. Basically, all the callbacks and references and cameos had me bawling and then part 3 fucking slayed me with feels. The best fucking

    and then the ending is so fitting

    Lastly, hilarious that Anabel used to have a crush on Luca but turns out that she's a lesbian. YOU GO, GIRL

    — AND WHAT A GLORIOUS FRIENDSHIP

    — ASLKFKSHJFKD

    — 🗣 FUCKING TRUTH, HA

    — Still a big fucking mood when it comes to Will Trombal LOL

    — Just, yeah

    — I FUCKING SOBBED, OKAY

    ---------------

    IT'S FINALLY RELEASED, IS THIS REAL LIFE?!!!!!!

    ---------------

    IT HAS A SUNSET VIBES COVER NOW

    —WHO ALLOWED MARCHETTA

    THE WAIT FOR THE JIMMY BOOK IS VERY MUCH A SLOW-MOTION HEARTBREAK IN THE HISTORY OF HEARTBREAKS

    ---------------

    The Place on Dalhousie, March 2019, goodbye

    Also, how Jimmy of Jimmy for not wanting to say I love you because he's afraid it'll come out sounding lame

    -----

    How cruel do you have to be to drop

    blurb and no release date?! WHY THIS

  • Maggie

    The journey that began in Year 11 at St. Sebastian's...

    That took us to East Timor and London with Anabel's brother...

    This was the final piece, the missing piece, Jimmy's piece.

    All I can say is, Thank you, Melina.

  • Jaclyn Crupi

    I don’t know what I did to deserve a writer like Melina Marchetta in my lifetime. I work with books because of her (Looking for Alibrandi changed my life). What she does so well here is write people. Real, messy, contradictory, beautiful people and I laughed and cried my way through the perfect humanity of it all. She is too good for us.

  • Tatiana

    Welcome back, Melina!

    did nothing for me, but

    immediately got me to the emotional state I expect to be in reading a Marchetta book:

    So, a big THANK YOU!

    is a return to Marchetta's signature heart wrenching family drama a la

    . Once again you get a novel about building a family and healing after the past tragedies. Jimmy Hailler is at the center of this story - it's about his coming home and finally

    hi

    Welcome back, Melina!

    did nothing for me, but

    immediately got me to the emotional state I expect to be in reading a Marchetta book:

    So, a big THANK YOU!

    is a return to Marchetta's signature heart wrenching family drama a la

    . Once again you get a novel about building a family and healing after the past tragedies. Jimmy Hailler is at the center of this story - it's about his coming home and finally

    his own home, something he's never had. But even more, it is about Rosie, the mother of his child, and Rosie's relationship with her (evil) stepmother, and a family house that they need to figure out how to divide.

    I probably have said this many times before, but nobody writes quite like Melina Marchetta - with so much empathy and heart. She doesn't just tell wonderful stories, she builds communities of wonderful people, people whom you all are guaranteed to love. And her dialog is simply THE BEST. Only her writing skill can keep me reading about the subjects I nowadays actively avoid (like cancer, babies, pregnancy, PPD) and come out of reading it cleansed by an obscene amount of tears.

    If you've never heard of Melina Marchetta (pity), start with

    and, hopefully, join the club!

    I got my copy of

    on

    P.S. It will be only fair if we get a book about Shiobhan and Justine next.

    P.P.S. I keep reading about these wondrous things that people get to have in countries other than the US - long service leave (you are literally entitled to MONTHS of additional paid leave after you've been with a company for an extended period of 7+ years); family centers where you can stay for days if you have trouble coping with new motherhood. @.@ Is this real?

  • Emily May

    Reading this book felt like coming home.

    It's been eight years for me - far longer for others - since I first encountered these characters in

    , and I feel as if I have grown up alongside them.

    was one of the first authors I discovered through Goodreads, thanks to

    , and these books have such a special place in my heart.

    - just like the two companion books that came before it -

    Reading this book felt like coming home.

    It's been eight years for me - far longer for others - since I first encountered these characters in

    , and I feel as if I have grown up alongside them.

    was one of the first authors I discovered through Goodreads, thanks to

    , and these books have such a special place in my heart.

    - just like the two companion books that came before it - is what happens when someone who is smart and intuitive about human nature and the nuances of relationships also happens to be an amazing writer. Marchetta just knows how to get under your skin, how to elicit emotions without being over-sentimental or trite. She writes deep painful emotions, creates a sharp sense of loneliness, out of the most simple of encounters and interactions. Nothing so basic as "someone dies, this is sad". Marchetta is too good for that.

    I don't think this is a depressing book, though. It is very emotional - quite cathartic, honestly - but it is filled with so much warmth, so many shining brilliant characters, that it never brought me lower than I could handle. I get the sense that after sixteen years, Marchetta herself really loves and cares for Jimmy, Tom, Tara, Frankie, Justine and Siobhan, and that comes across in her handling of their stories.

    This is Jimmy Hailler's story. He's trying to build his own family out of an accident that may turn out to be exactly what he needed. Marchetta is one of the best writers I know when it comes to family drama. Not only does she capture Jimmy and his state of mind entirely, but she explores new characters in depth. Rosie and Martha were fascinating, and I love how Marchetta understands that no one is simply the bad guy.

    ,

    and

    are about life. The complex connections between people, the conversations between old friends, and finding and allowing yourself to love. I'm not sad, exactly, but I am totally crying.

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  • mich

    I loved it. My expectations were crazy high and this didn't disappoint me.

    So here's the thing though - I've read some of the reviews on here and honestly, I think some of them give away a little too much.

    If you loved Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son, you'll like this. You'll love this.

    That's really all you need to know.

    Having the story unfold as you're reading it is the best way to go if you ask me. Especially since you're already so invested in Jimmy, which I KNOW you are if you loved t

    I loved it. My expectations were crazy high and this didn't disappoint me.

    So here's the thing though - I've read some of the reviews on here and honestly, I think some of them give away a little too much.

    If you loved Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son, you'll like this. You'll love this.

    That's really all you need to know.

    Having the story unfold as you're reading it is the best way to go if you ask me. Especially since you're already so invested in Jimmy, which I KNOW you are if you loved the other 2 books. (Yes, I know he wasn't in The Piper's Son but you can't tell me his absence didn't make you even MORE invested in his character.)

    It's not my favorite of the 3, but maybe that's just a result of not enough time and re-reads under my belt.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Oh. My. God.

    Ok, it’s out now. So how do I buy it?????

  • TS

    WHATTTTTTTTT

    Queen Marchetta is coming up with another book??? how did

    not know about this???

    how many of my organs do I need to give away to get my hands on this right now willing to negotiate @ me Marchetta let's talk

  • karen

    you people knew about this A YEAR AGO???

    next time, drop me a line please!

  • شيماء ✨

    This will be my first Melina Marchetta book so I don't know anything about Jimmy Hailler but it sounds like he's been through enough and deserves a break

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