A compassionate and unswerving portrait of a broken family whose members go to extraordinary lengths to reclaim their lives and relationships from the mistakes of the past.
The first novel from acclaimed author Cate Kennedy is a compassionate and unswerving portrait of a broken family whose members go to extraordinary lengths to reclaim their lives and relationships from the mistakes of the past.
Fifteen years after their break-up, Rich and Sandy have both settled into the unfulfilling compromises of middle age: hes a late-night infomercial editor with photojournalism aspirations; she makes hippie jewelry for a local market and struggles to maintain a New Age lifestyle that fails to provide the answers she seeks. To distract themselves from their inadequacies, Rich and Sandy cling to the shining moment of their youth, when they met as environmental activists as part of a world-famous blockade to save Tasmania's Franklin River.
Their daughter, Sophie, has always remained skeptical of this ecological fairytale, but when Rich invites her on a backpacking trip through Tasmania for her fifteenth birthday, Sophie sees it as a way to bond with a father shes never known. As they progress further into the wilderness, the spell of Richs worldly charm soon gives way to suspicion and fear as his overconfidence sets off a chain of events that no one could have predicted.
It was the broken-resolution end of January already, and Sandy was
sitting in the kitchen drinking decaffeinated coffee with her ovens
green, digital-clock display panel flashing, if you could believe it,
HELP HELP HELP instead of the time. Last night, full of the beadyeyed
purpose a late-night joint always gave her, shed stood there
trying to reprogram it to bring the clock back without making
the bloody oven alarm go off, pressing and fiddling and relighting
the stub of her roach, until finally shed sworn at it and given up.
So now it was signalling her for help. Her oven, for crying out loud. An appliance.
And even though she couldnt fix the timer, the clock still ran with a snickering whirr, a nasty little calibrated sound of time mouse-wheeling itself determinedly away, even if she was sitting here marooned in the long slack middle of the afternoon, picking hard candle wax off the tablecloth and waiting for the caffeine rush that ...
Australian novelists rock. Authors such as Tim Winton, Evie Wyld, and many others from down under share a certain grittiness combined with tenderness and they take an honest look at the helplessly dysfunctional nature of the human heart. With her first novel, The World Beneath, following her 2008 short stories Dark Roots, Cate Kennedy firmly secures a place in that class. Contrary to the few criticisms The World Beneath has received, including "lengthy stream-of-consciousness paragraphs" and a general lack of profundity, the writing is precise and assured, which is what you would expect from an author who has been called "Australia's Queen of the Short Story."
(Reviewed by Judy Krueger).
Full Review (593 words).
The Australian state of Tasmania is made up of Tasmania Island (the 26th largest island in the world and home to Tasmania's capital city, Hobart) and surrounding islands including Cape Barren Island and King Island.
Located just south of Australia, Tasmania Island is separated from the mainland by the Bass Straight which is 149 miles (240 km) wide at its narrowest point.
For thousands of years Tasmania was a vast wilderness inhabited only by aborigines. Due to its separation from the mainland and the late settlement of European colonists approximately 200 years ago, Tasmania is home to a unique ecosystem featuring ancient forests and species of wildlife that live nowhere else on the planet.
The Tasmanian Wolf, also known ...
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