All Four Quarters of the Moon
Shirley Marr is a Chinese-Australian author who migrated from Singapore with her family in the 1980s. Her novel, A Glasshouse of Stars, which won the Children’s Book Council of Australia Award, is based on this early experience. It was nominated in the UK for Cilip Carnegie Medal.
Her latest novel, All Four Quarters of the Moon, also draws on this early childhood experience but focuses on the relationship of two young sisters and the comfort they find in each other’s company, storytelling and imaginative play.
Shirley joined Nikki Gamble, In the Reading Corner, to talk about the book, her personal experiences and the line between fact and fiction.
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Everything so far, if Peijing had to sum it up, was a string of small awkward experiences that she hoped would end soon. The night of the Mid-Autumn festival, making mooncakes with Ah-Ma, was the last time Peijing remembers her life being the same. Now facing a new home, a new school and a new language, everything is different.
Peijing thinks everything will turn out okay as long as they all have each other. But cracks are starting to appear in the family. Biju, lovable but annoying, needs Peijing to be the dependable big sister.
Ah-Ma keeps forgetting who she is, and Ma Ma and Ba Ba are no longer themselves. Peijing has no idea how she’s supposed to cope with the uncertainties of her own world while shouldering the burden of everyone else. If her family are the four quarters of the mooncake, where does she even fit in?