About the book
Following her conscientious-objector husband Lenny to the rural Eden of Evergreen Valley, California, Evelyn wants to be happy with their new life. It's the summer of 1968, and Evelyn Lynden is a woman at war with herself. Enter the Reverend Jim Jones, the dynamic leader of a revolutionary church called Peoples Temple. Meticulously researched, elegantly written, and utterly engrossing, Beautiful Revolutionary explores the allure of the real-life charismatic leader who would destroy so many. In masterful prose, Woollett painstakingly examines what happens when Evelyn is pulled into Jones's orbit.
About the author
Laura Elizabeth Woollett
Laura Elizabeth Woollett was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. In 2012, she completed an honours degree in creative writing at the University of Melbourne. In 2014, she was awarded a Wheeler Centre/Readings Foundation Hot Desk Fellowship and the John Marsden/Hachette Prize for Fiction, and was chosen as one of the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival's '30 Under 30'. Her short-story collection, The Love of a Bad Man (Scribe, 2016), was shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction and the 2017 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction.
Laura Elizabeth Woollett's novel, Beautiful Revolutionary,explores cult psychology and the dangerous lure of the utopian ideology that attracted disciples to Jim Jones's infamous Peoples Temple. Charting the cult's dissolution from its heady socialist beginnings to mass suicide in a Guyanese compound, Woollett's vision moves beyond the charismatic figure of Jones to imagine the lives of his followers and their ultimate complicity in his crimes. Woollett achieves psychologically complex portraits of her two protagonists—minister's daughter Evelyn and conscientious objector Lenny—as they are indoctrinated into a degrading system of punishment and reward that delivers dire consequences for their marriage and sense of selfhood. Wry and incisive, but also imbued with great empathy for the trauma Jones wrought, Beautiful Revolutionary compels the reader to consider the conditions and compromises that allow groupthink to overpower individual responsibility and agency.