Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia's most beloved performers, tells her story.
In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father's espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.
Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.
Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s best known and most loved performers. She began her career in university revues, then appeared in a number of sketch comedy shows before creating the iconic character of Sharon Strzelecki in ABC-TV’s Kath and Kim. She has also acted in films (Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, The Golden Compass) and stage shows. Reckoning is her first book.
‘A brave and tender book about everything that matters most in life.’ Cate Blanchett
‘This is a remarkable memoir, that weaves the tragedy of twentieth century history into a personal narrative of coming to terms with family and self, and manages to honour both stories. The writing is assured and controlled, the storytelling expert and thoughtful, the language eloquent and moving. The writing, the story, the voice—all of it is beautiful.’ Christos Tsiolkas
‘Reckoning is a riveting, overwhelmingly poignant autobiography by a woman of genius…It is an extraordinary hymn to the tragic heroism at the heart of ordinary life and the soaring moral scrutiny of womankind. Every library should have it, every school should teach it.’ Weekend Australian
‘Unlike most autobiographies by famous people, Reckoning has substance beyond the writer’s fame…Szubanski’s fine memoir, written with great style, adds another layer to our history—another startling migrant story.’ Crikey
‘Sensitive and searching, colourful and vividly composed…stylish and accomplished.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘Nearly every memoir is described as “brave” these days but Szubanski has earned the word…The result of her efforts is an affecting story of family intimacy—soulfully and sensitively told.’ Saturday Paper
‘[Reckoning is] a page-turner…The quality of a memoir depends on how interesting a life the person writing it has had and Szubanski doesn’t appear to do dull. She is articulate and likeable as she tries to reconcile herself with the many difficult aspects of her past.’ New Zealand Herald
‘Magda’s memoir is a moving exploration of her relationship with her Polish Resistance hero father…Reckoning is a quest and, in a sad but satisfying way, Magda does find what she’s seeking.’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘We all knew she was funny, but who knew she could write like this?’ Benjamin Law, Age/Sydney Morning Herald
‘Reckoning is a beautiful and moving story of a serious, thoughtful and complex person.’ Paul Barclay, Radio National Books and Arts, Best Books of 2015
‘[Szubanski] captures wonderfully well the strange dissonance of history.’ Sophie Cunningham, Australian, Best Books of 2015
‘It is impossible not to be moved…Let’s hope Szubanski writes more. She shines just as brightly as a serious writer as she does as a comedian.’ Guardian, Best Australian Books of 2015
Customer ReviewsSee All
A gift from my mother...
I will go to Poland now....
In fact, I'm sure Polish tourism will never be the same again....
Epic, surprising, honest and brilliant
There's so many aspects of this book I love. It's beautifully written with such honesty, emotion and the weaving of family stories that I found it hard to put down. I can only imagine how tortuously difficult it must have been to write and then let go to the world. There's so much to admire about Magda and her life journey, acceptance of self and identity, her amazing family and story. I've never read anything so brutally honest and at times heartbreaking. I love the Australianess of the writing style and then the irony of Magda's feelings of exclusion. Thanks for giving us so much joy and laughter over the years Magda and now this beautiful memoir.
Brilliant, thank you Magda.