When Louis Nowra travels Into That Forest
, he goes in deep, delving into wild terrain where humans have scarcely set foot, trekking through thickets of "gum trees reeking of peppermint" and over "forest floors smothered in hairy toadstools." He tunnels deep into night landscapes alive with the scents of exotic animals quolls and wombats, devils and wallabies and nestles down into the wild lair itself, nose pressed into warm and sweet-smelling fur.
Into the Woods
this is not. Nowra's forest is animated not by fairy-tale magic but by the scientific wonder of a nature documentary. The fictional fantasy is set in mid-nineteenth century Tasmania, the Australian island state, where marsupial mammals dominated and there were almost no placental mammals until humans introduced them from outside. Into That Forest
probes what seems to be the...
Beyond the Book
When Hannah, the narrator of Lois Nowra's Into That Forest
, encounters her first Tasmanian tiger, she is mesmerized:
I turned and there, on the bank not more than ten yards from us, were a wolf creature with yellow fur and black stripes. It were about the size of a real large dog…It had a long muzzle and stripes on its sides like a tiger. The tail were thick and the fur so fine and smooth, it were like it didn't have hair. It's like a wolf, I heard me mother say, and indeed it looked like those wolves I seen in me fairy-tale books. It stared at us with huge black eyes, then it opened its jaw real slow till I thought it could swallow a baby. I'd have bailed out if it were not the most bonny, handsomest thing I ever seen.