The End of the Morning by Charmian Clift

Sale price$35.00
April 1, 2024
New South Books
Number of Pages
In stock

The never-before-published novel by Charmian Clift.


‘In those days the end of the morning was always marked by the quarry whistle blowing the noon knock-off.


Since everybody was out of bed very early, morning then was a long time, or even, if you came to think about it, a round time — symmetrical anyway, and contained under a thin, radiant, dome shaped cover…’


During the years of the Great Depression, Cressida Morley and her eccentric family live in a weatherboard cottage on the edge of a wild beach. Outsiders in their small working-class community, they rant and argue and read books and play music and never feel themselves to be poor. Yet as Cressida moves beyond childhood, she starts to outgrow the place that once seemed the centre of the world. As she plans her escape, the only question is: who will she become? The End of the Morning is the final and unfinished autobiographical novel by Charmian Clift. Published here for the first time, it is the book that Clift herself regarded as her most significant work. Although the author did not live to complete it, the typescript left among her papers was fully revised and stands alone as a novella. It is published here alongside a new selection of Clift’ s essays and an afterword from her biographer Nadia Wheatley.


‘The End of the Morning is full of feeling, animated by that formless, aching questioning of childhood, and a fascinating glimpse of the forces that shaped Clift as a person and a writer.’ — Fiona Wright

‘Reading her, even a glimpsed paragraph of her, is like quaffing the finest champagne on earth.’ — Peter Craven, Sydney Morning Herald

‘Forthright, funny and with an indefinable flair, Charmian Clift’s writing plays second fiddle to nobody.’ — Richard Cotter, Sydney Arts Guide


Charmian Clift was born in 1923 in Kiama, on the New South Wales south coast. Describing herself as coming from a family of ‘liars and embroiderers’, from an early age she began transforming her home and childhood into fiction.

After serving as a lieutenant in the Australian Army, in 1946 Clift joined the staff of Melbourne’s Argus newspaper, where she met fellow journalist George Johnston. Over the next twenty-three years, the couple raised three children, produced thirty books, and created a legend.

While living in Greece, Clift wrote the travel memoirs Mermaid Singing and Peel Me a Lotus, and the novels Walk to the Paradise Gardens and Honour’s Mimic. She also began the autobiographical novel titled The End of the Morning, which she regarded as her major work.

Returning to Australia in 1964, Charmian Clift set her novel aside so that she could devote her time to her weekly newspaper column and to her family commitments. Although she resumed work on The End of the Morning in 1968, she died a year later, before the book was completed.