Personal Effects

Personal Effects

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Carmel Macdonald Grahame


Brimming with dualities, Personal Effects is a novel that deals with the ambiguity of life, and the decisions we make in the hope that they will change our lives for the better.

Lilith and Ross have always been moving; from Cervantes on the Turquoise Coast, to Calgary in Canada, and places in between. Now, in middle-age, the work at home has dried up and they’re back in Calgary, where many years before they suffered a miscarriage and where decades later they have returned for yet another new start.

While Ross works away on the oil rig for weeks on end, Lilith unpacks their apartment and is confronted with the need to balance being alone with true loneliness. Her mind wanders, back to the windy plains and white sand beaches of the Turquoise Coast, to her strained and damaged relationships with her parents and brother, to the love between her and Ross and the ache of missing her daughters.

She is reminded of the compromises she has made for this life of uncertainty. Of the achievements and disillusionments of her many selves — wife, mother, friend, lover, sister, daughter, artist, expat.


Praise for Personal Effects:

This local writer’s slow-burning debut is a brief but masterful meditation on ageing, memory and self-reproach.



Personal Effects is an exquisite novel. The writing is rich, deep and moving … Ultimately, this book works like an extended poem. There is plenty that the reader will recognise here … This is a novel about life, and the meaning we make of it through our interconnections, and will resonate with the reader long after its story is finished.



[Carmel] brings to her debut novel a poet’s way of apprehending the world. You don’t simply read this novel: you see its world, touch it, hear it, inhale it … Personal Effects is that all-too-rare and wonderful thing: a novel of complex ideas that can also move us to tears.

Book details
FORMAT: Paperback
EXTENT: 250 pages
SIZE: 203 x 133 mm
ISBN: 9781742585345
CATEGORY: Carmel MacDonald GrahameFiction,