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 last wild corner of the last wild...
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