THE GOLDEN DAY
A small masterpiece.
Australian Book Review, December–January 2011–12
A mesmerising read by one of Australia’s finest writers.
Sunday Age, 3 April 2011
Grips you from the first page and never lets go. Five Stars *****
Bookseller+Publisher, March 2011
A rare jewel. Restrained, poetic literature for adolescents and adults…a small masterpiece.
Schrebfeder January 1 2013
A cryptic work. A beautiful book.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on July 13, 2012.
A major work of fiction by one of Australia’s most talented writers.
Viewpoint Winter 2012
Enchanting from the first page to the last.
Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June 2011
Ursula Dubosarsky shines in "The Golden Day ".
Delicately scripted with little sequestered hooks .. .visual, questioning, subtle and dreamlike.
Kids Book Review March 21 2011
I was utterly absorbed and entranced to the last word.
Courier-Mail, 28 May 2011
"Dubosarsky’s spare prose explores the space between innocence and adulthood. Shaped by the girls’ growing awareness of the world, her scenes are uneasy dreamscapes. Questions about responsibility, violence, sex, fear and death bloom beneath their placid surface. Unanswerable, they linger past the end of this slender but powerful volume."
Booklist *Starred review
"In a stunning feat of perspective, Dubosarsky inhabits all 11 girls at once, snaking through a thousand small joys and triumphs and fears and petty grudges as they absorb life’s bleakest truths as well their own complicity in them... a masterful look at children’s numb surprise to the most unsavory of adult developments. "
"Dubosarsky subtly shows the impact of the tragedy through fragments of conversations, observations, and memories, while expertly sketching a cast of vulnerable, inquisitive children and ridiculous authority figures. Laced with humor amid a steady feeling of dread, the atmospheric narrative chillingly evokes lurking forces capable of tarnishing even the most golden and innocent of days ..."
"Few sentences, when spoken by an adult to a child, possess the sinister ambiguity of: “It will be our little secret.” It is the language of the liar, the creep and the pedophile—a confiding technique that exploits a child’s loyalty to keep quiet something that should probably be spoken aloud. In Ursula Dubosarsky’s chilling, elegant, atmospheric novel “The Golden Day” (Candlewick, 149 pages, $15.99), it is what a fourth-grade teacher in an Australian girls’ school says to her class of obedient pupils. Its effect, especially the “thin, strong bond of shame” it creates, will last through the girls’ childhoods and change the contours of their lives.
The time is 1967, and the teacher is Miss Renshaw, a springy-haired freethinker who begins taking her uniformed charges out of school and into Sydney’s botanical gardens to release their inner spirits... Ms. Dubosarsky deftly conveys the confusion of childhood, the strangeness of things half-glimpsed and only partly understood. With quiet brilliance she evokes the distinct personalities of the classmates who, in a haunting final section, we see again in 1975 as they are finishing their final exams. “The Golden Day” is the sort of book that churns something up deep inside the reader; it will be as hard for an adult to forget as the young people ages 12 and older for whom it is intended."
"The girls’ communal silence in the face of increasingly desperate adults is bewitching. Dubosarsky...makes the simplest observations both poetic and terrifying. If you’re wanting for quality literature in your life, read this now."
"When the headmistress, the priest, the school psychologist and even the police come to question the girls, they silence themselves; eleven petals of a flower close in tight around the bud. They will not rat out each other or their beloved teacher. With haunting, sparse language and a timeless style, Dubosarsky expertly explores this pivotal moment in these girls' lives. She does this by inhabiting all girls' points of view at once. I can't adequately explain the breathtaking tension, urgency and emotional resonance this technique creates. It is unique, highly inventive and it deeply works. ... Perhaps Dubosarsky has arrived at a point of view that is the essence of childhood. I recommend The Golden Day to readers ages 12 and up, and urge adults to read it too."
"Delicate, atmospheric and provocative, this bijou tale stirs young adult readers to remember vividly the beguilement in which teachers can hold their little charges, and to consider with mature vision the complex meaning of adult actions that are only half-understood by child observers. With secrecy, elegant language, crime, a short page count, and a touch of the supernatural, here's a teen book club selection that everyone is likely to finish. "
Dubosarsky is one of those rare writers whose work feels both true and invented, always, the uncanny seamlessly interwoven with the fabric of life. It’s impossible reading this book not to think of the quote from Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight: ‘‘But they never last, the golden days. And it can be sad, the sun in the afternoon, can’t it? Yes, it can be sad, the afternoon sun, sad and frightening.’’ The Golden Day is a highly recommended portrait of life interrupted, in all its sad and frightening – but beautiful – reality.
"This acclaimed Australian author takes her chapter titles from paintings and drawings of schoolgirls by Charles Blackman, and her tale beautifully evokes the loneliness of childhood, the claustrophobic confines of a girls school and the dark turbulence of the world outside."