The Strong Dress
Meg Vertigan

Paperback | Mar 2023 | Puncher and Wattmann | 9781922571649 | 290pp | 210x148mm | GEN | AUD$29.95, NZD$32.95

It is 1977 and Kate is a seventeen-year-old HSC student from Sydney’s North Shore. She has dreams of becoming the next Ita Buttrose and editing Cleo. Yet while the 1970’s was the time of free love and peace this movement has not yet hit Kate’s suburban home in Beecroft. Kate’s carefree behaviour leads her parents to seek the advice of a maverick Sydney psychiatrist, Dr Jack Grafton. She is subjected to Slumber Therapy where she is given a cocktail of drugs that leave her confused about what is real.

Dr Grafton claimed Slumber Therapy he could cure all mental illness, from schizophrenia to not getting along with your parents. Yet after multiple patient deaths and their investigation he commits suicide. His colleague, a fellow unnamed psychiatrist, tells the story of his talented and erratic friend. The Strong Dress is a tragic dance of power, gender and scientific over-confidence in 1970s suburban Australia.