Life affirming, restful and restorative.
Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons.
When a girl in Henry’s class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past. When she was Henry’s age she lost her father and her best friend Michael – both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now, nearly forty years later, they’re talking about it again.
Everyone is waiting – for the girl to be found and the summer rain to arrive. At last, when the answers do come, like the wet, it is in a drenching, revitalising downpour.
This is a beautifully painted picture of rich colours, ruffled feathers, about creating a space, a nest; to lie in, to return to, to heal and nurture oneself in or is this more about the empty nest? This is a complicated narrative beautifully told.
It was by coincidence I picked up this book just as we were travelling around south east Queensland, here, now, the land is dry and waiting for the rains as is the area and town this book is set in. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the landscape, the flora and the fauna and the deep connection the protagonist has with the land and the rhythms of the seasons. It is a very relaxing almost meditative style of storytelling that quietly involves the reader in Jen’s the day to day life. There is something pleasing about her ritual baking, her weeding, planting and creation of art, her observation of nature. Jen appears to be leaving in the moment, but realistically she is stuck in the past; in past relationships, in lost lives and absent parents.
Slowly we witness Jen’s metamorphosis into a more whole and emotionally healthy individual as the mysteries surrounding her are revealed and she reconnects with the present and the community. We are given hints that she may have let go of last relationship as she scatters mementos to the wind and reconnects with old school friends and rediscovers a friend who may be moving back to the area who shares her interest in birds. She reconnects to her community through her art and her passion for rehabilitating the bush. Nature is a wonderfully healer.
Nest and all the permutations of its meaning are discussed and revealed for the reader to reflect upon in this narrative. Cherish the writing in this book, reflect on the peaceful setting and appreciate the healing hands of Mother Nature.