For many contemporary women writers, the impulse to narrate is both natural and inescapable. Often their writing attempts to find “a solution to a problem of general human concern, namely the problem of how to translate knowing into telling, the problem of fashioning human experience into a form assimilable to structures of meaning that are generally human rather than culture–specific” (White 1987: 1). This paper examines the novels of Rosetta Loy and attempts to show how public “history” has insinuated itself into her individualistic re–evocations of the past. In the asphyxia of inner experience, Loy is able to explore more deeply what is “subjective” and what is “objective”, creating vibrant portraits of contemporary reality which transcend the regional context in which they are located. Particularly interesting is her representation of “negative” and “positive” time. The latter is a movement in the direction of “creative evolution”, time as the begetter of all things, the permanent possibility of creation. Temporal progression is thus identified with human progress. Yet, chronological time also carries humanity inexorably towards death. And it is in this unresolved interplay of positive progress and negative transitoriness that Loy's narratives reveal what is denied or marginalised in public histories.