Unfinished Woman: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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"Searching, captivating and miraculously honest. Davidson has a voice we want to travel with, and to know."--Lisa Brennan-Jobs, New York Times bestselling author of Small Fry

A spellbinding memoir exploring time and memory, home and belonging, from the internationally bestselling author of Tracks, “an unforgettably powerful book” (Cheryl Strayed).

In 1977, while she was in her twenties, Robyn Davidson set off with a dog and four camels to cross 1,700 miles of Australian desert to the sea.

A life of almost constant travelling followed—from the Outback to Sydney’s underworld; from sixties street life, to the London literary scene; from migrating with nomads in India and Tibet, to marrying an Indian prince. The only territory she avoided was the past. In Unfinished Woman, she ventures into that unknown, unearthing an ache for a lost but barely remembered mother and an unmet desire to feel at home in her freedom.

Adventurous but guarded, fearless yet broken, Davidson asks: how can we live with pain and uncertainty, to find beauty in the strangeness of being? Unfinished Woman is a stunning literary achievement, inviting readers in as a world-famous wandering spirit is, for the first time, laid truly bare.

About the Author


Robyn Davidson was born on a cattle property in Queensland. She went to Sydney in the late sixties, then returned to study in Brisbane before going to Alice Springs where the events of this book began. Since then she has travelled extensively, has lived in London, New York and India. In the early 1990's she migrated with and wrote about nomads in north west India. She is now based in Melbourne, but spends several months a year in the Indian Himalayas.

Praise For…


“Searching, captivating and miraculously honest. Davidson has a voice we want to travel with, and to know.” —Lisa Brennan-Jobs, author of SMALL FRY

“Immersive and profound, Robyn Davidson's Unfinished Woman is a portal to understanding a daughter's grief. 'We take our mothers into us; that is where they live,' she writes. So much of her mother's life may remain unknown, but through memoir, Davidson completes what she considers an impossible task: crafting a moving portrait of her mother. This book will stay with me.” —Jeannie Vanasco, author of THE GLASS EYE

“Stunning. Robyn Davidson lives and writes with an explorer's courage, but this book is more than an adventure story. Unfinished Woman is an unfiltered glimpse into the fierce pursuit of freedom and connection, woven with a mother-daughter bond untouchable by time” —Kendra Atleework, author of MIRACLE COUNTRY

“In this searching memoir, the best-selling Australian author reflects on her mother's suicide and opens up about dumpster diving to survive, coming to terms with frayed relationships and living with regret.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Complex . . . well-written and insightful.” —Kirkus Reviews

"In between life-changing adventures and ever since, the restless Davidson has been on the move, roaming from London to Australia to India to America and back, gathering experiences and relationships. The journey is inward this time, but no less arduous . . . What follows is an honest accounting, painfully so, as Davidson comes to terms with her mother's life and death and reaches a kind of reckoning with her own life . . . Davidson allows us to see inside — all of it, no matter how messy — and it's definitely worth a look." - Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“[Davidson] excavates her childhood, romantic life, and family traumas in this raw and thorny memoir . . . Her rueful tone and assertion that her fate often felt like 'the playing out of forces [she] had no hand in' hits hard. It makes for painful yet cathartic reading.” —Publishers Weekly

"A memoir that stands both proudly and imperfectly (gloriously so) as a testament to human ingenuity, uncertainty and raw courage . . . To describe Davidson as complicated, mercurial, brilliant, exotic or any of those mixed blessings that percolate into an artistic temperament still would be missing the mark. She is definitely her own brand, one in which fierce vulnerability is the norm." - Bookreporter

"Like Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, [Robyn Davidson's] prose often zooms by, but the reader must pay careful attention to each word to keep up … Davidson’s insights into legacy, travel, and creativity are often quietly profound . . . Unfinished Woman is a valuable study in the art of memoir. It reveals a messy truth of humanity — that the places we’re in and the people we’re with strongly influence who we are. It then reveals an even messier truth: No matter where we go, there we are." - Washington Independent Review of Books

“Beautiful, thrilling and ferociously brave, Robyn Davidson's timeless story of her astonishing journey gripped me from the first page to the last. An unforgettably powerful book.” —Cheryl Strayed on TRACKS

“A strong, salty fresh book by an original and individual young woman ... This will rank among the best of the books of exploration and travel and, like them, is a record of self-discovery and self-proving.” —Doris Lessing on TRACKS

Product Details
ISBN: 9781620401620
ISBN-10: 1620401622
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: December 5th, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English