Robert Dessaix (1971 words)

  • Narelle Shaw (University of Tasmania)

Robert Dessaix was born in Sydney in February 1944. He tells the story of his life in A Mother's Disgrace (1994). Within weeks of his birth, he was living, “in lower middle class comfort, if that's the right word, on Sydney's lower North Shore” (10), with adoptive parents Jean and Tom Jones. Jean yearned for beauty, “in small things like tea-cups and bigger things, like what it all meant” (41). She owned one beautiful thing, a brilliantly coloured glass bowl, which Dessaix, “an aesthete at heart” (90), tells us now goes everywhere with him. His reflection on beauty in the highly acclaimed first novel Night Letters (1996) – that it creates angst by reminding us of the colourlessness of our everyday …

Shaw, Narelle. "Robert Dessaix". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 March 2003
[, accessed 21 October 2016.]

Articles on Dessaix's works

  1. Corfu
  2. Night Letters: A Journey through Switzerland and Italy