Painting Rachel (Literary (‘meta’) Fiction)


A coming-of-age tale about the power of family stories in a young woman’s search for identity.

On a lazy afternoon, in an average suburb in Sydney, a young and gifted pianist disappeared. She was 21, and she had eloped with the notoriously influential but volatile Russian immigrant artist, Danila Vassilief.

That was 1934.

Two generations later, and young art school student Elle picks up the tale, sure that if she digs hard enough, she will uncover the power of this strange family story that inspired own mother to abandon her as a baby, in order to pursue an artist’s dream in the volatile political landscape that was Australia in the 1970s.

As Elle’s own life takes an unexpected turn, she pursues the facts with relentless urgency … and soon starts to wonder if she should have left the story in the past. Because sometimes a story’s power is simply in the telling, and to get too close is to destroy the magic.