Out in that country the sun smeared the sky and nothing ever altered, except that one day a scrap man came by . . .
Her name is scarcely known or remembered. All in all, she is worth less than the nine shillings and sixpence counted into her father’s hand. She bides her time. She does her work.
Way back in the corner of her mind is a thought she is almost too frightened to shine a light on: one day she will run away.
A dark and unsettling tale from the turn of the twentieth century by a master of Australian literature.
This is a very quick, very dark, very disturbing read, written with skill and flair. Underpinning the bleak narrative are themes of resilience, the importance of family – in its varied forms, of solidarity and of the female bonds that sustain life and offer hope in desperate situations.
Disher skilfully captures the essence of the times and the Australian locations succinctly – early 1900’s, rural backdrops, you can hear those banjos strumming “Deliverance” style in your head as you turn the pages, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzae_SqbmDE the poverty, the gloom, the desperation, the harsh conditions; the landscape ruling with a mean and spiteful fist, its fingers tightly clamped, strangling hope.
This is not what I would call an enjoyable read. This is however a remarkable, memorable, poignant and haunting read that I dare you to forget.
I think Disher is really talented, Carol. And he does build suspense quite well. I can see how he’d be skilled at creating this sort of atmosphere. Glad you enjoyed the book.
Margot I can’t wait to sample his crime fiction work.
Bitter Wash Road is one of his more recent – highly recommended, Carol
Thanks Margot I’ll keep a look out for it
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