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Synopsis

When Sydney Smith was nine, she thought about killing herself because of her mother's cruelty. When she reached puberty, her mother sexually assaulted her, a pattern repeated over the years.

By the time Sydney was twenty, she believed there were cameras behind every mirror in the house, that her mother could read her mind, that anybody who looked at her could see the bloody fantasies of murder and mutilation which tormented her. How to escape? How to survive?

Enthralling and disturbing, brave and elegantly written, The Lost Woman is that rare memoir: a story which, once read, will never be forgotten.

Sydney Smith is a past winner of the Age Short Story Competition, and her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the Age, Griffith REVIEW, Island, Imago and the New England Review. Sydney founded and co-ordinates the Victorian Mentoring Service for Writers. This is her first book.

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'Smith's salvation through literature shows. If her story is horrific, her manner of telling it is fresh and often enchanting.' Canberra Times

'Reviewing a memoir with this much disturbing content is challenging, but I highly recommend this book for the strength and courage of the author's voice, and the beauty of her writing. It is poetic, complex and powerful, filled with the anxiety of a trapped daughter with an emotionally deadened, controlling and damaged mother...There is survival and hope, and a striving for understanding of her mother's behaviour, which lifts this memoir above the crowded field of the genre.' 4 stars Australian Bookseller & Publisher

'Reading this book is a reminder that, with tenderness, honesty and an avowed lack of overt self-pity, a truly engrossing memoir can come to life...spare.beautifully written.' Big Issue

'what makes Smith's book exceptional and compelling is her vivid and three-dimensional storytelling, in which her mother's bizarre behaviour and her father's ambivalence are scrutinised rather than demonised.' Herald Sun

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