While I love reading to escape to other places and times, other cultures and ways of being, I also enjoy reading about the familiar, about places I know and experiences I’ve had. Alan Gould, whose The lakewoman I reviewed recently, is a local writer. The lakewoman, in fact, is primarily set in England, France and Germany, but the hero Alec Dearborn does return to Australia towards the end, and before that often thinks or talks about it. His Australia is the country surrounding where I live, an area we call the Monaro, to be exact.
Here are some descriptions from The lakewoman that describe this region;
He went on to describe the Murrumbidgee River that flowed beside The Dad’s place, how it used to run flush after rain, with the brown waters mounting each other like so many panicky sheep in a pen. How it might be a trickle at the end of a summer without rain, like glassy infrequent spillages between rocks.
Sometimes he would try to describe his part of Australia, the streaky, silvery, airy, dry spaces of his pastured and lightly timbered country, sheep standing immobile in fog as the crows called mournfully through the whiteness.
How, for instance, a Monaro mist would transform a big brittlegum into a delta of pale grey veins against the white. Or how the last hour of sunlight in this airy woodland could angle so searchingly under the foliage to suffuse the planet’s surface with aureolin gold.
This is not verdant country, nor is it particularly welcoming. But, it is spacious, golden and airy – and it lifts my heart whenever I drive through it. Gould captures its particular variety perfectly.