Where the Trees Were
A beautiful new novel about the innocence of childhood and the scars that stay with you for life, from the award winning author of MR WIGG and NEST.
‘All in?’ Kieran pulled me up, and the others followed. We gathered around the bigger tree. No one asked Matty – he just reached up and put his right hand on the trunk with ours.
Kieran cleared his throat. ‘We swear, on these trees, to always be friends. To protect each other – and this place.’
Finding those carved trees forged a bond between Jay and her four childhood friends and opened their eyes to a wider world. But their attempt to protect the grove ends in disaster, and that one day on the river changes their lives forever.
Seventeen years later, Jay finally has her chance to make amends. But at what cost? Not every wrong can be put right, but sometimes looking the other way is no longer an option.
Another great read from Inga Simpson – her passion for nature and her wonderful ability to transport the reader to any location she chooses to write about is to be commended. And Inga Simpson artfully captures the innocence of childhood perfectly! Children accept everyone, it is not till later they learn to discriminate by gender, race, by socio economic borders, by ability…
Whilst at first glance this narrative seems to be quite simple, straight forward; a coming of age story with a thread that deals with remorse and justice, look a little closer, listen to the words, there is much more to be heard here.
The dual time zones (childhood 1980’s and current 2000’s) allows Simpson to explore such issues as the conservation/preservation of art and cultural objects/return of significant cultural artefacts to original owners, Indigenous rights, Land Rights, drugs in sport, the difficulties facing Australian farmers today, facing country towns, Australian foreign affairs and terrorism, illegal fishing …There is so much in this book! Yet it doesn’t feel cramped or that lessons are being given, all these elements form the miasma of issues that cloak our day to day modern Australian lives; they inform, or are ignored or give meaning to our individual lives.
This is an exceptional book that can be read on many levels; a coming of age story of the children in this book, the coming of age of Australia.