In this sensual, witty, and startlingly original first novel, Jean Finnegan
searches for her place in a tumultuous world wracked by the Great Depression and
the beginning of World War II. Carrie Tiffany captures the frailty and beauty of
the human condition and vividly evokes the hope and disappointment of an era.
Billowing dust and information, the government "Better Farming Train" slides
through the wheat fields and small towns of Australia, bringing advice to the
people living on the land. The train is staffed by irresistibly eccentric
agricultural and domestic experts, from Sister Crock, the prim head of "women's
subjects," to Mr. Ohno, the Japanese chicken specialist, to Robert Pettergree, a
scientist with an unusual taste for soil. Amid the swaying cars full of cows,
pigs, and wheat, a strange and swift seduction occurs between Robert and Jean.
In an atmosphere of heady scientific idealism they settle in the impoverished
Mallee farmland with the ambition of transforming the land through science.
In luminous prose, Tiffany writes about the challenges of farming, the
character of small towns, the stark and terrifying beauty of the Australian
landscape, and the fragile relationships among man, science, and nature.
Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living is a passionate and heartbreaking
novel from an astonishing new writer.
Throughout, Tiffany (an agricultural journalist living in Melbourne) explores the themes of man against nature, and the nature of man against man, but she also captures a big slice of social history, illustrating the incredible hardships of the time - the great depression, extensive years of drought, the memories of one war still present and the impending onset of another - stories that are at one level uniquely Australian but at another level, totally universal. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Here is a bright new voice. This is a most engaging novel that expresses its serious, often chilling concerns with a true feeling for people and the worlds they inhabit. I hope we will hear more from Carrie Tiffany in years to come.
Starred Review. Tiffany writes in a deceptively simple style, notable for its craft and heartbreaking clarity; that as well as her unusual yet utterly believable period characters make for a stunning debut.
Tiffany's lean, controlled writing bears an incredible amount of weight; in a few well-turned phrases, the dusty Australian landscape comes alive...lapidary prose and keen historical feeling make it hard to believe this is a first novel.
Starred Review. In this unusual and luminous first novel, Tiffany writes beautifully about the stark landscape and the even starker relationships between men and women.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by maria siracuse BORING! I was so disinterested in the characters in this book. The story became incessantly silly. I ended up not even finishing it. The writing style was ok, but the story just never did drew me in.
The Better Farming Train did exist just as described in Tiffany's book;
it steamed out of Melbourne for the first time in October 1924 and returned for
the last time in 1935, making about 38 tours in total. At each of its 10
stops between 500 to 2000 farmers and townspeople would attend the exhibits. You
can browse a range of pictures of the train and its destinations
here. In the top left you'll see the words "Browse Photo Collection"
in red. Click any of the numbers underneath to see photos (we thought
this a particularly fine image)
Robert and Jean set up home in the Mallee, a district in far
north-western Victoria, south of the Murray River (the state of Victoria is in the south-east of Australia, see map). The Mallee is so named because the area used to
contain vast numbers of mallee (an aboriginal word to describe particular
varieties of eucalyptus trees).
The Mallee is effectively flat and
low-lying, comprising predominantly of sand dunes. With the use of
fertilizers some areas can support wheat and barley...
The Pulitzer Prizewinning author of All Over but the Shoutin continues his personal history of the Deep South with an evocation of his mothers childhood in the Appalachian foothills during the Great Depression, and the magnificent story of the man who raised her.
Devastating, evocative, and richly comic, Dark Roots deftly unveils the traumas that incite us to desperate measures and the coincidences that drive our lives. This arresting collection introduces a new master of the short story.
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Oldest romance writer in the world dies aged 105. Books #124 and #125 to be published next year(Dec 10 2013) Ida Pollock, author of more than 120 books, and believed to be the world's oldest romantic novelist, has died at the age of 105.