When It Rains

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The heart-wrenching but triumphant story of rebuilding a life and a family

When It Rains, Maggie MacKellar

'My body, suddenly, carries two stories of loss ... One is easy for people to recognise. My mother died of cancer. I watched her age twenty-five years in eight weeks ... My other story marks me as different. It is more silent and more savage, it is not pure and no one knows how to approach it. Somewhere I lost my husband.' When Maggie's vibrant young husband, father to a five-year-old daughter and an unborn son, dies tragically, Maggie is left widowed and due to give birth three months later to their second child. Then her beloved mother, backbone of the family, mother to three children, grandmother to two, dies suddenly of aggressive cancer. In two short years, Maggie's life has shattered. After a year, she gives up trying to juggle single motherhood and the demands of an academic career and returns with her children to the family farm in central western New South Wales to take stock and catch a breath. The farm becomes a redemptive, healing place for Maggie and her children as they battle the heat and drought that only the Australian landscape can offer. She throws herself into the horses, sheep, ducks and chickens and slowly, finally, realises she has found a new shape for herself. Written by a brilliant new talent, When It Rains is a meditation on grief and the vagaries of the human condition, and a stunning memoir about piecing back together a life, and moving forward, one step at a time.


2011 The Age Book of the Year Award (Non Fiction)
2011 State Premier's Award

Available Formats

  • Paperback
    $19.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9781742752273
    Published: 01/12/2011
    Imprint: Vintage Australia
    Extent: 240 pages
  • eBook
    ISBN: 9781742741062
    Published: 01/09/2010
    Imprint: RHA eBooks Adult
    Extent: 240 pages
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Maggie MacKellar

Maggie MacKellar

Maggie MacKellar was born in 1973. She has published two books on the history of settlement in Australia and Canada and two memoirs, When It Rains and How to Get There. She now lives on the East Coast of Tasmania with her partner and two children.