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Conditions of Faith

Miller, Alex

356 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0340766662 / ISBN 13: 9780340766668
Published by Sceptre, London, United Kingdom, 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

By the Australian winner of The Commonwealth Writers Prize. An as new copy, in protective dust jacket cover. Bookseller Inventory # 9247A

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Conditions of Faith

Publisher: Sceptre, London, United Kingdom

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


""There is a moment in our lives when we must decide which world we belong to. The world of our dreams or the other one. We can't all drift back and forth between them without risking losing our place in both."" From one of Australia's most revered contemporary authors comes the romantic saga of Emily Stanton and her restless struggle against the conventions of her time. When Alex Miller's mother died several years ago, she left him the fragmentary journal she'd kept while living briefly in Paris as a young woman in the 1920s. Inspired by this surprising entree into his mother's emotional life and her conflicted passions of young womanhood, Miller has written "Conditions of Faith." In spare, precise prose, Miller brings us into vivid 1920s Australia, France, and Tunisia and gives us a taste of feminism at the beginning of the century through the story of Emily Stanton. Like Henry James's Isabel Archer before her, Emily is beautiful and headstrong, restless, idealistic, and determined to live a fulfilling life despite smothering social conventions. It's 1923 and at age twenty-five, Emily, an Australian, impulsively marries Georges Elder, a French-Scottish engineer ten years her senior. Suddenly she is propelled from Melbourne, where she is a promising scholar of classical civilizations, to Georges's small, conventional flat in Paris. Quickly dismayed at the traditional life she has married into, Emily resolves to look elsewhere for the exotic adventure and intellectual stimulation she believes to be her due. She will "live a Parisian fairy story," she determines, which suits her until it leads to an illicit liaison and unwanted pregnancy, altering her life irrevocably.At the center of the book is "the problem of a reason for living," a problem that society says should be solved, for women, by motherhood. For Emily, though, it's not sufficient. Her search for fulfillment will take her as far as the ruins of Carthage and ultimately challenge society's most deeply cherished beliefs about motherhood and family. "Conditions of Faith" is at once a provocative romance and an elegant meditation on a timeless dilemma.


Award-winning author Alex Miller uses a sensitive touch to explore deep issues of the mind, heart, and spirit in Conditions of Faith, a thoughtful novel about a young Australian woman in the 1920s who longs to discover her purpose for living. After finishing school, 24-year-old Emily Stanton's life is adrift. When Georges Elder, representing his Parisian firm, comes to Melbourne to consult with Emily's father about building a bridge in Sydney Harbor, he is enchanted with Emily and proposes. Emily makes a hasty decision to marry him and leave her family for a new life in Paris. When her decision fails to bring her contentment, she quickly succumbs to a chance affair with a priest, the implications of which reverberate throughout the rest of the story. Miller slowly brings into focus Emily's wrestling with her life--her sexuality, her spirituality, her ability to enter into motherhood wholeheartedly, and her desire to bring to fruition the life of the mind. He sets his tale against the backdrops of Australia, France, and Tunisia, and uses colors, sounds, and fragrances that will astonish the reader with their vividness and clarity. Although Emily's final choices may dismay some readers, her desire to fully embrace her life will resonate with any woman who has ever yearned to discover herself. --Cindy Crosby

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