William Trevor, The dressmaker’s child (#Review)

I knew, when Kim (Reading Matters) and Cathy (746 Books) announced their “A year with William Trevor” project, that I had a little book containing some William Trevor short stories but, could I find it? Nope. It was a little book after all. And then, voilà, just the other day while I was doing my book decluttering and packing, I came across it. It’s Pocket Penguin 22 from Penguin’s 70 Years celebration, and is called The dressmaker’s child, but it contains three short stories, so these will be my (very willing) contribution to the project. Two of the stories were chosen by the author from previous collections, but for the titular story this is its first appearance in book form.

Most of you will know of Trevor (1928-2016) but, in a nutshell, he’s an Irish writer of novels and novellas, short stories and plays. He won many literary awards in his life, and was particularly well regarded as a short story writer – making him right up my alley. In fact I have read one of his short stories before, early in this blog.

In her most recent Trevor review (of a novel titled The children of Dynmouth) kimbofo writes that it didn’t take her long to feel that she was in “familiar William Trevor turf in which he takes a seemingly ordinary character with eccentric traits and lets them loose in a confined setting”. This could apply to the short story, “The dressmaker’s child”, as it is about a young nineteen-year-old motor mechanic, Cahal, working for his father in a small town. He’s the only son in a family of girls – all of whom have left – and he is “scrawny” with a “long face usually unsmiling”. The story opens on him applying WD-40 “to the only bolt his spanner wouldn’t shift”, which sets a tone that perhaps other things are, or might be, locked up for our protagonist.

As he continues to work on the car, a young Spanish couple appears, wanting to be driven out to see the Sacred Virgin (Our Lady of Tears) who they believed – that is, they had been told so by a barman – would bless their marriage. Now Cahal knows the statue’s special spiritual status had been disproved and thus rejected by the church, but with a 50-euros job in the offing, he doesn’t actively dissuade them from their mission.

Trevor describes the trip, complete with hints of self-delusions, until on the way home Cahal’s car hits a child – the dressmaker’s child – who is known to run at cars and who, up till then at least, had never been hurt. With the Spanish couple kissing in the back of the car, and choosing avoidance over action, Cahal continues driving despite being aware of “something white lying” on the road behind him. Back in town, nothing is said about the dressmaker’s daughter for a few days, but Cahal remains uncertain. It affects his relationship with his young woman, and when the dressmaker herself starts to appear in town at his side, hinting that she knows what had happened, but is not reporting him, his fears and uncertainty increase.

This is not a thriller, but there is a plot and an ending (of course) so I will leave the story here. It’s nightmarish stuff, but very real too.

Trevor’s writing, his unfolding of story and character, is a pleasure to read. Take Cahal’s character, for example. From the stuck bolt (albeit does start to loosen, hinting at possibilities), he is depicted as rather gormless, bowling along, taking opportunities as they come without a lot of consideration – and somewhat different to his father who, during a conversation about the Swedish couple, shakes his head “as if he doubted his son, which he often did and usually with reason.”

This brings me to the point of the story which, as we are slowly brought to see, is the impact on Cahal of what he did or didn’t do – and the almost catatonic fear it engenders:

Continuing his familiar daily routine of repairs and servicing and answering the petrol bell, Cahal found himself unable to dismiss the connection between them that the dressmaker had made him aware of when she’d walked behind him in the night, and knew that the roots it came from spread and gathered strength and were nurtured, in himself, by fear. Cahal was afraid without knowing what he was afraid of, and when he tried to work this out he was bewildered. 

It changes his life – not in the way we might expect but in a way that shows with absolute clarity how avoidance and inaction can be as potent as anything else. Trevor, like my favourite short story writers, is less about drama and more about the complex realities of human interaction in which accommodations rather than simple resolutions are more often the go. I look forward to the next story.

William Trevor
“The dressmaker’s child”
in William Trevor, The dressmaker’s child
London: Penguin Books, 2005
pp. 1-20
ISBN: 9780141022536
(First published in The New Yorker magazine, October 4, 2004: available online)

Maggie O’Farrell, The marriage portrait (#BookReview)

I have mentioned Author’s Notes a few times recently, because I have read a few works of historical fiction. Maggie O’Farrell’s latest novel, The marriage portrait, is another historical novel and so here I am again talking Author’s Notes. The marriage portrait, as you probably already know, is based on the life of Lucrezia de’ Medici, who lived from 1545 to 1561. Her death was ascribed at the time to “putrid fever” (or pulmonary tuberculosis). However, very soon after she died, rumours started that she had been poisoned by order of her husband, Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara. That suspicion inspired English poet Robert Browning to write his dramatic monologue, “My Last Duchess“. It was this poem and a portrait of Lucrezia that inspired the novel.

O’Farrell writes in her Author’s Note that “I have tried to use what little is known about her short life but I have made a few alterations, in the name of fiction” and goes on to explain some of those alternations and why she made them. I have always argued that historical fiction is just that, fiction. We should not read it as history, that is, we should not rely on it for the facts. However, good historical fiction will provide some truths, and we do find some in O’Farrell’s novel.

The marriage portrait is told in two alternating chronological strands, one starting with Lucrezia’s conception in 1544, and the other a day or so before her death in 1561. In these two strands we are given the whole of Lucrezia’s life. We see her growing up as a resourceful, intelligent but needy middle child in a large family where she felt different from her younger and older siblings. Presumably this is O’Farrell’s invention to enhance her isolation. And we see the last year of her marriage: its deterioration as she fails to bear an heir (to a man who went on to marry twice more without issue) and her realisation that he means to kill her. Not surprisingly, we quickly become engaged in Lucrezia and her plight. O’Farrell knows how to tug our heart strings.

“The ladies . . . are forced to follow the whims …” (Boccaccio)

When I read novels, I believe in reading everything, which here included some matter before the story starts. First is a small paragraph headed Historical Note, telling us of Lucrezia’s death and the rumours concerning it. This is followed by two epigraphs, one from Browning’s poem referring to the portrait, and one from Boccaccio’s The decameron which commences with “The ladies . . . are forced to follow the whims, fancies and dictates of their fathers, mothers, brothers and husbands …” Hence some of the aforementioned truths.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the novel but, overall, I found it a readable and immersive story about what was a brutal time period, particularly for women and the serving classes. (I use “serving” rather than “servant” to encompass a wider group of people.) There’s nothing particularly new here, but O’Farrell shows very clearly how women and the serving classes were pawns in the political power plays of the time, with little or nothing to protect them except, sometimes, luck – or the courage of another.

There is more, though, to the novel, than politics and power, gender and class. O’Farrell also looks at that aspect of Renaissance life that we all love, art and artists. Admittedly, politics and class have a hand here too, but Lucrezia herself (the fictional one, anyhow) is depicted as a skilled artist, and her work, materials and technique are described in loving detail. It is through her art that Lucrezia most often can assert herself, albeit that assertion must be hidden from others.

I could argue, too, that the novel suggests the way politics and power can destroy love, loyalty and affection between, in this case, marriage partners and siblings. This could be a modern reading of the situation, but I’m not completely averse to us “moderns” understanding the past through our own lens.

As for the writing itself, it’s gorgeously lush, though verges on the overdone at times. Cosimo’s tigress is described as moving “like honey dropping from a spoon”; she doesn’t “so much pace as pour herself, as if her very essence was molten, simmering, like the ooze from a volcano”. Lucrezia’s husband Alfonso is depicted as “an aquatic creature, half man, half fish, crawling up out of the shores of a river, silvered tail glistening in moonlight”. However, despite this, the rich, descriptive writing seemed appropriate for the opulence of the period. And, there is some more restrained, to-the-point writing, such as this introduction of the man whom those versed in historical fiction will recognise as the likely villain:

The man emerges, shoulder first from the branches, the papers still clutched in his hand. He makes his way through the garden but, unlike Alfonso, he doesn’t pick his way along the paths: he walks through the flowerbeds as if they aren’t there, striding over the low green hedges, through the blooms, scattering bees and petals in his wake. Here is a man, Lucrezia thinks, as she eyes his progress, who waits on no one, who lets nothing get in his way.

His name is Leonello, and Lucrezia recognises him for what he is.

O’Farrell is an experienced writer, so the novel is carefully plotted and structured. I enjoyed her use of parallels to foreshadow later actions. The strangling of the guard Contrari, for example, heralds a later strangling, and our tigress is described by Lucrezia as “a creature captured against its will, a creature whose desires have all been disregarded”, which mirrors her own experience later.

The marriage portrait is not a subtle novel, and it does play somewhat with the historical record, as discussed in the Author’s Note. It’s also excruciatingly brutal at times. But, I did become engrossed in the era and invested in Lucrezia’s plight. A moving read. 

Note: This book was my reading group’s April selection, but due to a COVID-risk I did not attend the meeting.

Maggie O’Farrell
The marriage portrait
London: Tinder Press, 2022
438pp.
eISBN: 9781472223869

Stella Prize 2023 Winner announced

The 2023 Stella Prize winner was announced tonight and, for the second year in a row, it’s a poetry collection …

Sarah Holland-Batt’ The jaguar

Darn it! I nearly bought it last weekend when I was at the National Library but with my move and having stuff everywhere, I put it back down again and thought, maybe later. I guess it’s now not “maybe” but “yes later”. However, I’m pleased to share that a couple of bloggers I know have already read and reviewed it – like Kim at Reading Matters and Jonathan at Me fail? I fly! Check their posts if you are interested.

The judges said that The jaguar “investigates the body as a site of both pleasure and frailty”. The panel chair, Alice Pung, expanded on this saying that

… This is a book that cuts through to the core of what it means to descend into frailty, old age, and death. It unflinchingly observes the complex emotions of caring for loved ones, contending with our own mortality and above all – continuing to live.

It’s a response, I understand, to the death of Holland-Batt’s father. Those who have followed my blog for a while will understand, then, why I really would like to read it. Stella CEO, Jaclyn Booton, describes it as “a gift of a book” that “examines questions of grief and memory and care”.

You can read more on the Stella website, including an excerpt from Sarah Holland-Batt’s acceptance. She commented that she was “thrilled to enter into the company of the extraordinary writers who have received the Stella” and also said:

“It’s both an indescribable joy and a deep honour to receive the Stella Prize for The Jaguar. I wrote this book during an intensely challenging period, as my father was dying, and just after. It was the friendship, generosity, and camaraderie of women that not only saw me through this difficult time, but that has been the sustaining armature of my writing life.

Just to remind you, the judges were author Alice Pung, in the chair, with her co-judges bibliophile and host of The Garrett podcast (among many other roles) Astrid Edwards; essayist and literary critic BeeJay Silcox; writer, editor, broadcaster, and Walkley award-winning journalist Jeff Sparrow; and First Nations poet, essayist and legal advisor Alison Whittaker.

I have read eight of the twelve previous winners: Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with birds (2013, my review), Clare Wright’s The forgotten rebels of Eureka (2014, my review), Emily Bitto’s The strays (2015, my review), Charlotte Wood’s The natural way of things (2016, my review), Heather Rose’s The museum of modern love (2017, my review), Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s The erratics (2019, my review), Jess Hill’s See what you made me do (2020, my review), and Evelyn Araluen’s Dropbear (2022, my review).

Thoughts anyone?

Robert Drewe, Nimblefoot (#BookReview)

Nimblefoot is Robert Drewe’s eight novel, but is the first of his that my reading group has done. Drewe is a prolific and versatile writer, having written memoir and other nonfiction, as well as short stories and novels, both. contemporary-set and historical. In other words, he is not easy to compartmentalise. He has appeared before in my blog, with his 2015 Seymour Biography Lecture and in a Monday Musings Spotlight post in 2019, and now, finally, he comes in a review.

Nimblefoot is historical fiction. It was inspired by the story of Johnny Day (1856-1885), who is described by the book’s promotion as Australia’s first international sports hero. He was a “pedestrian” (the fore-runner of racewalking) and, as a 9- and 10-year-old, he won several races, becoming World Champion. But this wasn’t Johnny’s only sporting claim to fame. In 1870, at the age of 14 and by then an apprentice jockey, he won the Melbourne Cup on a horse named Nimblefoot (which was surely a “give” of a title for Drewe, considering Day’s speed-walking career as well!)

Anyhow, here was another situation where I was keen for an author’s Afterword. Drewe explains his inspiration, saying that “several years ago Nat Williams, Treasures curator at the National Library of Australia, and Dr Sarah Engledow, senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery, showed me a portrait of a small boy named Johnny Day”. They clearly knew the reason for this portrait, but continues Drewe, “research into his life after his Melbourne Cup victory proved fruitless”. He thought it strange “that the famous walker and rider had left no cultural footprint”. Hence, his decision to imagine what might have become of him. A member of my reading group pointed out that Wikipedia does complete Johnny Day’s story. However, that page was written in late 2022, after the publication of this novel. Information on Johnny Day is now findable through Trove, but this letter to the editor of Sportsman after his death suggests that there really wasn’t much written about him. Further, Drewe took many years to write this novel so it’s likely that, when he started at least, Trove did not have the content it does now.

So now, that out of the way, on with the post … except that I will say one more thing about Trove. It looks like Robert Drewe loves Trove as much as I do, because Nimblefoot is full of delicious anecdotes from the period – mid-1860s to around 1880 – in which the novel is set. They were so delicious that I checked a couple – including one about the explorer John Horrocks being shot by his camel. Sure enough, there they were. Indeed, if I have a criticism of the novel, it’s that at times it felt like Drewe let his research – let these delicious little stories – get in the way of his own story, resulting in not so quite as tight a novel as, say, Eleanor Limprecht’s The Coast.

However, I did thoroughly enjoy the novel. Nimblefoot, like much of Drewe’s work, is an evocative read about “colourful” (euphemistically-speaking) time in Australian history. Drewe mixes real personages of the time, like Prince Alfred and the Chief Commissioner of Police Frederick Standish, with fictional characters, and takes our hero, Johnny Day, from his home in Ballarat and Melbourne to Perth and southwest Western Australia where he goes on the run after some seedy happenings involving the aforesaid Prince Alfred and Standish put him in danger. Along the way, we glean much social history, particularly about life on the land and in small town Australia, where Johnny takes on many jobs, including yardman, ostler and swamper. It was in some of these sections that I felt Drewe digressed somewhat from his centre, but the picture he built engaged me, nonetheless.

It engaged me not just because of the character of Johnny, whom you can’t help liking and wanting to keep safe, and not just because of his depiction of the times, but also because of his writing (laced, I must say, with wry humour). From his earliest books, Drewe has been able to capture the essence of a place beautifully. Here is a Pedestrian race-day:

It’s a cloudless February afternoon, so still the air’s vibrating. One of those windless country afternoons with cicadas buzzing and crows gagging and whiffs of dead things in the bushes. (“This hot, humming afternoon”)

How can you not “feel” that? In this chapter, Drewe also makes all sorts of social commentary, but subtly, so that you are just aware of it as you pass through:

And around they go. Past the first billboard. Pears Soap. A black kid sitting in a tin bath, while a white boy in a sailor suit, all blond and curls and dimples, scrubs the blackness off him.

What were they thinking? We know, don’t we?

Anyhow, moving on. In the first third of the novel, the scene is set, with Drewe setting us up for Johnny’s life after winning the Melbourne Cup. It’s a story of exploitation (at best) and corruption (at worst) with Johnny being used and abused for the benefit of others, including his father who makes money on his races, Nimblefoot’s owner who manages to not pay him his jockey winner’s fee, and Prince Albert (and his cronies, including Standish) who take him like a trophy to Melbourne’s seamy and seed sites, the bars and brothels frequented by the powerful. It is after this night, when Johnny witnesses violence and murder, that he goes on the run, ending up in Western Australia.

Nimblefoot is many novels in one. It’s an adventure story with a picaresque element, which we takes to many locations and introduces many characters. It’s a man-hunt thriller. It’s a coming-of-age story in which Johnny experiences love and gains wisdom: “Never seen my father looking helpless and weak before. It’s him in another different light. The older I get, the more different lights there are”. And it’s a social history …

But why, besides the inspiration to imagine Johnny Day’s life, did Drewe write this novel? In my Monday Musings Spotlight on him, I refer to a 2009 interview with Drewe which discusses his interest in writing both novels and short stories. He essentially said that in novels he’s “interested in ideas” while short stories are easier for “relationships … and conflicts between people”. So, what are the ideas Drewe explores here? My sense is that it has something to do with exposing Australian society of the period. Larrkinism would be a generous way of putting it, but Drewe delves deeper, showing the way power, masculine power, to be precise, so easily bends to exploitation, corruption and lawlessness. Along the way, references are made to the roles played by women (in brothels, hospitals, and on properties), to Nyoongar history and culture, and to “better” men. It’s a realistic picture and one that feels authentic to the milieu in which the novel is set.

Nimblefoot is not the most perfect novel I’ve read. Besides the many historical digressions, there is also a curious switching between third and first person voices throughout the novel. They surprised at times, but they did give freshness and reality to Johnny’s experience. Overall, Nimblefoot proved to be a good read that managed to keep me engaged from its opening words to its end, despite the moving stress I was under. Not all books would have achieved that.

Lisa has also reviewed this novel.

Stella Prize 2023 Shortlist announced

It says something about my discombobulated year that I didn’t post on the Stella Prize longlist. And then, I was packing for Melbourne this morning while I listened to the shortlist announcement on ABC RN Breakfast. (Something new I think for Stella.) I didn’t have time to stop and write my post, then, but here I am overnighting in Wangaratta – don’t laugh truckie Bill – and have a few minutes to write a post.

I haven’t read any of the shortlist, you probably won’t be surprised to hear, but as I heard the announcement, I remembered that I had one on my TBR, so I immediately swapped out one of the books I had selected for my holiday reading pile to include it.

This year’s judges are author Alice Pung, in the chair, with her co-judges bibliophile and host of The Garrett podcast (among many other roles) Astrid Edwards; essayist and literary critic BeeJay Silcox; writer, editor, broadcaster, and Walkley award-winning journalist Jeff Sparrow; and First Nations poet, essayist and legal advisor Alison Whittaker. None of these were on last year’s panel. Stella, in fact, does a stellar (sorry!) job of keeping its panels fresh.

You may remember that poetry was added as an eligible form for the prize last year. Indeed, a poetry collection won last year

The shortlist

The 2023 Stella Prize shortlist is:

  • Debra Dank, We come with this place (Echo Publishing, memoir)
  • Eloise Grills, big beautiful female theory (Affirm Press, graphic memoir for want of a better description): Kate’s review
  • Sarah Holland-Batt, The jaguar (University of Queensland Press, poetry collection): Jonathan’s review
  • Adriane Howell, Hydra (Transit Lounge, novel): Lisa’s review
  • Louisa Lim, Indelible city (Text Publishing, memoir)
  • Edwina Preston, Bad art mother  (Wakefield Press, novel): on my TBR, Lisa’s review

The announcement this morning included an interview with Stella Prize CEO Jaclyn Booton and shortlisted author Edwina Preston who said that her book had been rejected 25 times before it found a publisher. She said that if she hadn’t had an agent who kept plugging away, she would have given up. Good on Wakefield! It’s a lovely little independent press in Adelaide, which publishes across an impressive range of fiction and nonfiction forms. I visited them once, many years ago, and have reviewed many of their books. 

So, three nonfiction works/memoirs, one poetry collection, and two novels, continuing wonderful diversity of form that characterises the Stella Prize. I must say – though I haven’t included them all here – the covers for these books are stunning – strong, expressive covers that eschew those book cover cliches so often associated with books by or featuring women.

Alice Pung says of the shortlist:

Although all the books on our shortlist are very different, common themes emerge about a woman’s relationship to her art and to the world around her. All our shortlisted books also explore with moving complexity some of the most pivotal relationships in a woman’s life, and their roles as daughters, partners, wives, and mothers.

Each shortlisted author will receive $4,000 in prize money. The winner will receive $60,000 (through the support of the Wilson Foundation). There’s more on the shortlist on the Stella website.

The winner will be announced on 27 April.

Comments?

Eleanor Limprecht, The Coast (#BookReview)

I love to read Author’s Notes, Afterwords, or whatever they are called, at the end of novels, and particularly so when the novel is historical fiction. This is because these notes will often explain the author’s thought process, the line they have drawn between fiction and fact, the sources used, the level and type of research undertaken, and so on. It helps me understand “how” to read the book, if that makes sense. I was consequently pleased that Eleanor Limprecht had provided such information at the end of her fourth novel, The Coast, which is set in the former Coast Hospital lazaret in Little Bay, Sydney. This hospital was established in the 1880s for the treatment of infectious diseases, including small pox, tuberculosis, and the subject of this novel, leprosy (or Hansen’s Disease).

The Coast is set primarily in the first three decades of the twentieth century, and focuses on the story of Hilda/Alice who is nine when she is brought to the lazaret. However, while she provides the novel’s narrative and emotional centre, hers is not the only story told. We hear about other members of her family, including her mother Nellie/Clea who is at the Coast when she arrives. We also hear about one of the Hospital’s doctors, Will Stenger, who takes special interest in his lazaret patients. And, we have a story that somewhat parallels Alice’s, that of Jack/Guy, a Yuwaalaraay man, who also ends up at the lazaret, though not until he is an adult. I should explain here the dual names: leprosy patients would be given (or choose) a new name when they entered the hospital because, as Alice’s mother tells her, it’s better for their family if they disappear, “it’s better that no-one can find us”. Leprosy, at the time, was a reviled disease and sufferers were secluded under the Leprosy Act of 1890.

What author afterwords tell us

So, Limprecht’s words. I wanted them because I wanted to know whether she would address her First Nations character and, of course, being the thorough historical fiction writer she is, she does indeed discuss the issue. She had advice and feedback from Yuwaalaraay reader Nardi Simpson (whose Song of the crocodile I’ve reviewed) and Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay reader Frances Peters. She visited Angledool, Jack’s home, with the help of local First Nations people, and was shown around the Goondee Keeping Place at Lightning Ridge by First Nations people there. Her manuscript was also read by First Nations people associated with the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council. All this supports my sense that she has rightly and respectfully included First Nations experience in her story.

Limprecht’s words provide other insights too, but I’ll mention just two of them. One is that she acknowledges various grants, including the Neilma Sydney Literary Travel Grant (see my post), which helped her visit another lazaret location, Peel Island. The other is that she acknowledges the History of Medicine Library at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians where she “found the records that inspired this story”. This interested me because the story contains many details about the lives of the patients at the lazaret, details that were so specific that I felt (and hoped) they were based on documented records – on reports, letters, and so on. This suggests that they were.

“nothing to look forward to” (Alice)

Limprecht also tells us in her words that she got the idea for this novel while researching her second novel, Long Bay (my review), making it before 2015. However, she also tells us that she finished writing it during the pandemic, which helped her “consider the continuing repercussions of stigmatising illness and the long-term effects of isolation”.

So now, the novel itself. The story is told in first person and third person voices – Alice’s in her voice, with the stories of the other three in third person. These four stories are interspersed with each other, and are told chronologically, but each starts at a different point in time, beginning with Jack (1905), then Alice (1910), Nellie (1892) and Will (1910), until they coalesce in 1926. Jack’s story encompasses his experiences as a stolen child and a soldier in the Middle East in World War 1. Through him, Limprecht ensures that First Nations’ lives are part of the life of the time she’s chronicling, something that many of our majority-culture-written histories and historical fiction have consistently omitted.

Jack’s story – of being taken from his family, returning to it, going to war and returning as an amputee who soon after ends up at Peel Island – conveys not just these facts, but the emotional impact of being stolen, of displacement, of racism (albeit his injured returned soldier status sometimes earned him begrudging recognition.) By sending him to Peel Island, Limprecht also documents the differential treatment at that lazaret between “white” and “others” (or, the “coloured camp”). This is a difference that he does not experience at The Coast under the more humane Dr Will.

Alice’s story follows, presumably, a typical trajectory of those who were isolated at a young age and spent the rest of their lives that way. (It’s a coming-of-age story as moving and as tragic as that of Anne Frank’s real one). As quarantine places go, The Coast lazarets – men’s and women’s – are humane. The patients live in cottages, they have access to a beach where they can swim and fish, and they can socialise with each other (though the women’s lazaret does not have a communal cottage like the men’s has!) But, “it’s no place to grow up”. Alice is an intelligent young woman, who quickly engages us with her warmth and honesty, but she also articulates the physical and emotional experience of this disease. Told first person, her story of resilience and resignation carries the novel.

Nellie’s and Will’s stories add additional depth and breadth to the lazaret community and thus the history. Both appear in the epilogue dated 1967. It didn’t feel narratively necessary to me, but historically it rounds out how leprosy treatment progressed and what happened to the Coast lazaret.

The coast is the sort of historical fiction I like, a well-researched, expressively-written story about an historical time and place I know little about, one that is worth knowing. It reminds us how far we have, or haven’t, come in our management of feared diseases, like AIDS, like COVID-19. It evokes with warmth and clarity the costs of ostracism and isolation. And, it puts First Nations people into the historical frame – naturally. A good read.

Lisa (ANZLitLovers) also liked this novel.

Eleanor Limprecht
The Coast
Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2022
319pp.
ISBN: 9781760879402

(Review copy courtesy Allen & Unwin)

Robbie Arnott, Limberlost (#BookReview)

Where should I start my discussion of Robbie Arnott’s third novel, Limberlost? Perhaps with the epigraph. It’s by Gene Stratton Porter, and says, “In the economy of Nature, nothing is ever lost”. I have posted on Porter – on her essay, “The last Passenger Pigeon”. She was, says Wikipedia, an author, nature photographer, naturalist and silent-film producer.

Some of you will know her for her now classic novel, Girl of the Limberlost (1909). My mother adored it, and passed it on to me. I adored it too, and passed it on to my daughter, who adored it in her turn. It is a beautiful book about love of place (Indiana’s Limberlost Swamp) and a young woman, Elnora, living with a wounded, neglectful, widowed mother. It is about how Elnora obtains sustenance (physical and emotional) from nature. Yes, it’s a bit sentimental, in the style of the time, but Porter won me over with her description of the Limberlost Swamp and with her young protagonist Elnora’s strength. (Oh, and with Elnora’s beautiful lunchbox, which, apparently, also impressed author Joan Aiken! I wanted one.)

So, Robbie Arnott’s Limberlost … it draws more than a little – but also not a lot – from Porter and her novel. It is about a teenage boy Ned who, though not neglected like Elnora, is living with a loving but stressed and often remote father. It is set in a stunning and beautifully-rendered-by-Arnott environment, in this case northeast Tasmania, in the Tamar River valley. There are enough similarities to suggest that Arnott also loved Porter’s novel. However, Arnott has taken this kernel – troubled teenager left frequently alone in a beautiful environment – and woven a more subtle story about, well, let’s talk about that now …

Fundamentally, Limberlost is a coming-of-age novel but one that also happens to tell a whole life from childhood to 90s – in just over 200 pages. That’s impressive writing. If you like family sagas, this is not for you, but if you are interested in what makes a life a life then Arnott has written just the book. In this case, we are talking specifically the life of a man. I have reviewed a few books over the years that explore manhood – Christos Tsiolkas’ Barracuda (my review) and Sandy Gordon’s Leaving Owl Creek (my review), being two. Arnott’s book has its own take on this question.

He’d never felt so brotherless

The central narrative takes place over summer, near the end of World War 2, when Ned is 15. With his mother having died within months of his birth, and his two older brothers, Bill and Toby, being away at war, it is just Ned and his father on the family orchard, until big sister Maggie arrives to make it three. The core chronology follows Ned through summer, but the narrative shifts back and forth in time as events segue to other experiences in Ned’s life.

Ned is a sensitive, reflective young man. The novel starts with a scene from when he was 5. The community was awash with rumours and fears about a mad whale causing death and destruction at the mouth of the river, so Ned’s father had taken his three boys out in a boat to the eye of the storm, as it were. This little incident is key to the novel, because it is about facing fears, about checking the truth of stories, about memory – and about fathers and brothers. Throughout the novel, Ned struggles to remember what really happened in the various events of his life, starting with this one. Which brother had given him a coat that night when he’d shivered with cold? This bothers him, but what is more important is that “he remembered the warmth of the wool”.

It is perhaps the challenge of being the baby brother, but for Ned the struggle to feel competent – like his father, like his brothers – is ongoing. At 15, he dreams of having a boat, and he works hard to realise it, by trapping rabbits and selling the pelts. Achieving this dream would bring him two victories: “He’d have the boat, and he’d have people’s shock at the casual totality of his competence”. There is a guilty niggle, though, because his trapping for pelts looks “nobler” – providing pelts for slouch hats, while his brothers are at war – than he knows in his heart it is.

Limberlost, however, is not only about manhood and brotherhood. It is also a work of eco-literature (about which I’ve written before). The novel’s epigraph, along with the opening “mad whale” scene, clues us into this. Nature – the natural world – thrums through the novel – from the whale, the rabbits, and the quoll he mistakenly traps, to the beautiful giant manna gums (or “White Knights”) that Ned logs in a short stint on a logging crew. Many of the descriptions of the animals, plants and landscape are visceral in the way they act upon Ned’s emotions and consciousness. Ned’s relationship with this world is complex – at times it terrifies, at times it nurtures, at times he takes from it (such as logging and rabbit-trapping) and at times he gives back (such as returning the quoll), but it is always there. Arnott’s natural world is beautiful but fierce. It is also threatened – by man’s actions upon it – which Arnott shows graphically but not didactically.

There are many strong, dramatic descriptions of nature in the novel, but I’m gong to share a rare joyful one. It comes during Ned’s honeymoon, after he had experienced the true joys of lovemaking (in one of the best sex-scenes I’ve read for a while):

Afterwards he’d driven them across the plateau through white-fingered fog, through ghostly stands of cider guns, through thick-needled pencil pines, through plains of button grass and tarns, through old rock and fresh lichen, until the road twisted and dived into a golden valley. Here at winter’s end, thousands of wattles had unfurled their gaudy colours. As they descended from the heights their vision was swarmed by the yellow fuzz. Every slope, every scree, every patch of forest, every glimpse through every window was a scene of flowering gold.

The rolling, breathlessly joyful rhythm of this description is very different to that in the next paragraph where Ned’s old fears return, and the sentences become clipped, and staccato-like.

Arnott also refers to the presence of local First Nations peoples, to Ned’s awareness of their knowledge of the land. “At no point, Ned had heard, were they hungry” – not the way he and Callie were as they struggled to make their little orchard work. Some members of my reading group, with whom I read this book, felt this was anachronistic, but the Tasmanians amongst us argued that northern Tasmanians have long been aware of First Nations presence.

The final point I want to make concerns dreams and imagination. Ned, as I wrote above, feels guilty about his boat-dream when others think his rabbit-trapping is war-effort related, but it’s the dream that sustains him. When crisis comes and dreams are shattered – not in the way you are expecting so this is not a spoiler – Ned is devastated:

He wanted something to do, something to love. He had … nowhere to push his imagination, nothing to dream of … nowhere to turn his thoughts from reality … He felt cut loose from the anchors he’d been dropping all summer. He’d never felt so brotherless.

Limberlost is a great read. It is imbued with warmth for its world and characters, but it is not sentimental, nor simplistic, and no answers are given – except for one, the ties that bind, family. The novel starts and ends with father and brothers – but in between are real lives lived authentically in a vividly-rendered landscape that has its own life. Beautiful.

Several bloggers got to this before me, including Lisa, Kimbofo and Brona.

Robbie Arnott
Limberlost
Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2022
226pp.
ISBN: 9781922458766

Meet the Author: Dervla McTiernan

You’ve heard me say it before and I’m sure to say it again, I am not a “crime reader” – but I do read crime novels when something about them catches my attention. I have been interested to read Irish-born Australian writer Dervla McTiernan since her first book started appearing with positive reviews on the AWW database. As it turned out, this conversation brought out a couple of points that particularly interested me, and further spurred my interest in McTiernan’s novels.

The participants

Dervla McTiernan: author of the internationally bestselling Cormac Reilly series (The rúinThe scholarThe good turn), and of three audio novellas The sistersThe roommate and The wrong one. She has won many awards, including an International Thriller Writer Award. Her latest novel is a standalone, The murder rule.

Anna Steele: since retirement has reviewed crime, historical and literary fiction for The Canberra Times and the ACM Press, using her nom-de-plume, Anna Creer. Before that, Anna was Head of English at Canberra Grammar School. I should add that I count Anna as a friend, as for many years we have been active members of our local Jane Austen group, JASACT.

The conversation

Anna commenced by explaining that the conversation would be structured as a retrospective of Dervla’s career so far, meaning it would not be one of those latest-book focused conversations. She also reassured Dervla and the audience that there would be no spoilers!

On how she started

Dervla McTiernan, The ruin, book cover

Anna then mentioned Dervla’s Irish heritage, which is known for story-telling, and yet Dervla has said her writing would not have happened if she’d stayed in Ireland. Why? She followed this up with “why crime?”

Dervla said she’d been a lawyer in Ireland, but the 2007 GFC and its aftermath had been traumatic, with suicides and other serious distress amongst family and clients. By time she and her partner left Ireland in 2011, she never wanted to practise law again. After arriving in Perth and needing to support themselves, she nearly returned to law, but her husband reminded her of their promise to each other to now do it their way, so she got quasi legal work and wrote for two hours every night. The result was a contract with Harper Collins, and The rúin was born.

She said she had not initially intended to write crime, but she had a story she wanted to tell – about two siblings she named Maud and Jack. Up popped a young, uncertain twenty-something cop, Cormac Reilly, whose job it was to save the children. Also, she was a crime fiction reader.

On her detective, Cormac Reilly, and her success

Anna then asked more about Cormac Reilly. He’s not an alcoholic, not tormented, and he arrived on the scene, Anna felt, fully fledged. Dervla has called him, a “man of my generation”. What did this mean, Anna asked. Anna felt that he is one of the reasons for the success of the first novel, but wondered what Dervla thought.

Cormac, said Dervla, was a reaction to the crime fiction she was reading. She enjoys Ian Rankin, and others, but their male heroes tended to not have other responsibilities, which is not true to her generation’s experience of men. She wanted to write about someone she could admire, who could sustain relationships long term, about men who could change nappies, cook meals, and so on. She felt she’d be lying if she wrote an inept man. Love this – though I don’t think it’s only her generation that has “ept” men!

As for the novel’s success, although Anna instructed her not to be modest, Dervla said she really didn’t know. But, she did say that the story has to matter, that writers need to have genuine emotion about what they are writing, otherwise the writing is “dead on the page”.

On place

The next few questions concerned place, about which Dervla feels strongly. Why were her first three novels set in Ireland?

Dervla said that Galway, the setting for The rúin, is the place she knows best. Also, the story of Maud and Jack is an Irish story, and beyond that, she has questions and concerns about various aspects of Irish history.

Developing this, and moving us on to the second novel, The scholar, which is set in a university, Anna quoted Dervla’s statement that “all writers bring their life experience to their books”. Anna wondered what experience she’d brought to this novel. Again, Dervla said that she knows that place, a place that can be both safe and unsafe (particularly for women). The novel involves Cormac’s girlfriend, who is a scientist, which is not Dervla’s experience, but she has dealt with scientific issues in her legal work. Besides these are more subtle things such as how people talk.

Regarding the third Cormac Reilly book, The good turn, Anna, who clearly knows Dervla’s books well, noted that in this novel, policeman Peter Fisher, who had appeared in The scholar, has a much stronger role. She wondered why. She also noted that it is not set in Galway.

Dervla talked a bit about Peter Fisher, whom she clearly enjoyed writing. She was interested in his relationship with his father. Also, Cormac is a good person but is not universally liked, giving Peter a challenge – stick with Cormac or go with the consensus?

She set this novel in a rural area that she also knows well. She has decided to only write about places she wants to spend time in, but she also said that with Irish villages, they may be beautiful but you only have to scratch the surface …

On the trilogy

One of the things I enjoyed learning from this interview was Dervla’s decision to create in Cormac a competent man with outside responsibilities. The other thing I loved was Dervla’s response to Anna’s question regarding whether, given her comment that The good turn “rounds off” the previous two, she always knew Cormac Reilly was going to be a trilogy,

Dervla said that yes, she thinks it’s a trilogy – though she may write about Cormac again later. She didn’t want to write a long procedural series, as they tend to be episodic without overall narrative arcs. She wanted to challenge Cormac, to have a narrative arc which would see him changed by the end. I don’t like series, so I enjoyed hearing her perspective.

More on characters

Anna asked her about the female detective she’d started but not finished, and about the unlikeable Hannah Rokeby in The murder rule. Dervla said that she’d been waylaid from her female detective by the idea that became The murder rule. She was interested in the Innocence Project, which many Irish students get involved in, but felt she didn’t have a story. Then, she had the idea of flipping it: from having the traditional idealistic young woman to an angry, bitter one. She likes Hannah Rokeby. Hannah is “wish fulfilment” for her because Hannah represents the younger generation of women who don’t feel they have to be “the nice girl”, who, when they think something, “they own it”! Hannah’s problems are separate from her competence.

On police abuse of power in her books

Anna asked whether the police abuse of power that threads through the books was conscious or just part of the stories. Dervla felt it was the latter, but commented that in any community where there’s power there’s corruption. She said that teams like the police work very closely together and when something even a little untoward happens the tendency is to support the team rather than remember their true role!

On coming books, adaptations and the pandemic

The interview wrapped up with a number of questions about Dervla’s plans. Dervla explained that due to The murder rule she’d been given a three-book contract by Harper Collins’ American arm for books set in America. Her new book, now completed, is set in Vermont, which she visited. It’s about a young couple, in love and beloved in their community. They go away. He comes back, without her. Her parents want the truth, while his parents want to protect him.

Regarding when she will write an Australian-set novel, Dervla said she is currently working on a novella set in Perth and Margaret River.

Anna also asked her about the screen optioning of two of her novels. She’s not heard about The Rúin, but a miniseries for The murder rule is moving into full script.

Anna then asked whether the pandemic affected her writing, given she’d been writing a book a year until then. Dervla said it had been a weird artificial environment, and was a time of needing to focus more on family. She is usually always thinking of her characters when she is not doing other things, but the pandemic broke that pattern. It’s coming back though!

Q&A

There was a brief Q&A, which I’ll summarise:

  • On staying motivated when starting out: the two hours a night was her present to herself; she gave herself permission to have those two hours. This kept her going.
  • On support, like a writing group or mentor: she’s a solitary person, and so decided to put all her focus on writing, on doing the best writing she could. (It is a lonely profession, she had earlier admitted to Anna, so it is good for writers to make opportunities to engage with each other.)
  • On knowing how a police station works: research and common sense, she said. The Irish police produce useful annual reports.
  • On writing to deadlines: it is important if you are going to be a good publishing partner, but she also wants to write the best story she can, so deadlines are important but sometimes you need to take space.
  • On whether she feels the need to make female characters (like the tough Hannah Rokeby) likeable: no, she’s not driven to make her as likeable as Cormac.
  • On whether there’s a difference writing for audio versus print: can use fewer attributions (he said, she said, etc) and don’t need to describe responses (like “she gasped”) though she might provide a stage-type direction to person doing the reading.
  • On literary critics being scornful of crime: There are two writing worlds “commercial fiction” which is “story and character driven” and “literary fiction” which is not so. Some literary fiction can lift off the page, but not all. There is good and bad in both types, but for some, literary fiction is seen as the “real” writing. However, it is commercial fiction which supports publishing and bookshops. She’d like critics to recognise what people like to read. Anna commented that John Banville who has started writing crime, said that he “found freedom” in writing it.
  • On writing about murky psychological and social issues: she needs to start with character and let the story go from there. She doesn’t like to start with the theme. She doesn’t want to write issues-based books, but she will often write about something she’s angry about.

Another excellent conversation – well-prepared and generously answered.

Meet the author: Dervla McTiernan (with Anna Steele)
Webinar via Zoom, organised by the Friends of the National Library of Australia
Wednesday, 15 February 2023, 6-7pm

Anthony Doerr, Cloud Cuckoo Land (#BookReview)

There was a collective cheer from the four librarians in my reading group when one of our members read Anthony Doerr’s dedication for his latest novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land. It goes like this “For the librarians then, now, and in the years to come”. Thank you Anthony! Cloud Cuckoo Land, at over 600 pages, is a big book and, like most big books, is about a lot of things, but threading through it is the idea of the book – and of the role played by librarians in fostering knowledge and reading. Indeed, the central event of the book takes place in a public library.

Those of you who have read the novel will know what I’m talking about, but for the rest of you I’ll take a step back. Anthony Doerr, from my limited experience of two novels, seems to like two things – multiple-points-of-view and young protagonists. All the light we cannot see (my review) has two protagonists from the same era, but Cloud Cuckoo Land takes it to another level with five protagonists spanning multiple centuries.

“It’s like we’re about to walk into the book” (Alex, fifth-grader)

The critical thing about these five characters is that they are outsiders – subversives, even – each confronting the received wisdom of their times. All live precarious lives. In the fifteenth century, in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, Omeir is born with a cleft palate. Those were superstitious times, so he, his siblings, mother and grandfather are ostracised and find themselves living in a ravine miles from their village. Omeir “imagines the adventures that might lie beyond”. Over the way, in Constantinople, is Anna, a poor orphan, living with her sister in a great embroidery house where they sew for a living. She daydreams about a better life than this, and, as Constantinople falls, sets about achieving it. Meanwhile, in 20th century Idaho, Zeno is born – in 1934, to be exact. He, too, is ostracised, an “undersized orphan with foreigners blood and a weirdo name. Ahead is what?” In the same state, born early in the 21st century is Seymour, living with his impoverished, hard-working, single mother. From birth he is difficult – fussy about food, textures and sounds – suffering, the school decides, from some sort of “disorder” or “combination thereof”. Nature is his sanctuary, “amazing … Big. Alive. Ongoing”. Out there, inspired by the great grey owl he calls Trustyfriend, “lifelong knots deep inside the boy loosen”. Finally, some time into the future, on the spaceship Argos, is Konstance, stuck in a life not of her choosing, and condemned to live all of it on board. She’s imaginative and suffers for it, mystifying her mother who believed their “imaginative faculties” had been “suppressed”.

Threading through each of their stories is a fictional codex from the real Ancient Greek author, Diogenes. It features Aethon, who, having all his life “longed to see more”, wants to become “a fierce eagle or a bright strong owl” and fly to the “city in the clouds”, the titular “Cloud Cuckoo Land, where no one wants for anything”. This codex plays different roles in the lives of our protagonists but for all of them it represents, at some time, hope, dreams and the value of books.

I’ve focused a lot on these characters, but that’s because they are the book. From these introductions you can see that Doerr has chosen young people who have little agency over what happens to them. The novel explores what they do to survive and make meaningful – authentic – lives for themselves in an imperfect world. What does it take to cope?

Fundamentally, the book is about challenge and change. For Aethon, our unifying character, the journey is not simple, and he is changed into undesirable creatures like a donkey and a “humble crow”. For our other characters, life also does not go to plan, with each surprised by what it dishes up to them. There are tricks in store for them – as well as for the reader – including in the codex itself which, in the course of its journey from Ancient Greece to the future, becomes jumbled, so its true ending is lost. However, in 2020, 86-year-old Zeno’s fifth-graders, who are rehearsing his translated and dramatised version in the public library, decide on an end, one that encompasses life’s reality.

Cloud Cuckoo Land, then, is also about books, but they too are vulnerable, as the scholar Licinius tells Anna:

“… books, like people, die. They die in fires or floods or in the mouths of worms or at the whims of tyrants. If they are not safeguarded, they go out of the world. And when a book goes out of the world, the memory dies a second death.”

Fortunately, though, Doerr clearly believes enough of us will safeguard them, and the novel ends way into the future with Aethon’s book being read to a young boy:

“And the tale I have to tell is so ludicrous, so incredible, that you’ll never believe a word of it, and yet”—she taps the end of his nose—“it’s true.”

As many of you will know, I love this.

Now, I’ll return to the title. “Cloud Cuckoo Land” is, literally, the name of an idyllic place in a real Ancient Greek play, Aristophanes’ The Birds, the place Aethon seeks in our codex. But, for me, the title also encompasses some interesting imagery. Cuckoos are birds, and all sorts of birds feature throughout the novel, representing nature, and freedom, amongst other things. Cuckoos, themselves, are sacred in some cultures, but some species, as we know, lay their eggs in other bird’s nests forcing, we could argue, those young to be resourceful outsiders. Then there are the “clouds”. As I read this book I couldn’t get the Joni Mitchell song “Both sides now” out of my head, with its line “it’s clouds illusions I recall .. I really don’t know clouds at all”, progressing to “life’s illusions … I really don’t know life at all”.

These two ideas – resourceful outsiders and life’s illusions – encapsulate for me this truly engaging book. Doerr presents for us life’s challenges – historic, economic, climatic – but he also offers the dreams and resourcefulness of humans in confronting these challenges. Zeno’s friend Rex describes the codex as “part fairy tale, part fool’s errand, part science fiction, part utopian satire”. This could also describe Doerr’s novel, but it is more too. Rich, complex, and highly readable, it contains multiple treasures and connections for engaged readers to find and make on their journey. I have barely skimmed its surface. It was a very popular start to my reading group’s year.

Anthony Doerr
Cloud Cuckoo Land
London: 4th Estate, 2021
627pp.
ISBN: 9780008478308 (e-Book)

Claire G. Coleman, Night bird (#Review)

Wirlomin-Noongar woman Claire G. Coleman’s short story “Night bird” is the second First Nations Australia story in Ellen van Neerven and Rafeif Ismail’s anthology Unlimited futures: Speculative, visionary Blak+Black fiction, the book I chose for Bill’s (The Australian Legend) Australian Women Writers Gen 5 Week. The week finished officially a week ago, but I’m hoping Bill won’t mind my still referencing it. Coleman is not new to my blog. I reviewed her debut novel, Terra nullius, the year after it came out. She has written more fiction and some non-fiction since then, with a clear focus on the devastating impact of colonisation on First Nations culture and people.

“Night bird” continues this focus. It follows Ambelin Kwaymullina’s story in the anthology, “Fifteen days on Mars” (my review), which works well, because both draw on the importance and role of Ancestors in First Nations culture. Coleman’s story is told first person by an artist who is “too afraid to sleep, too tired to be awake”, who drinks to drown her sorrows, who fears she may be “going mad again [my emph]”. She tells us

I am haunted by the ghost of my Ancestors’ Country like a phantom limb …

[…]

I have been cut off from my Country, my ancestors cut up, the land drilled and dug and eaten by machines … my wounded homeland won’t let me rest.

This is not a subtle story. The narrator (whom I think is female, so I’ll go with that) grieves for a life she “could never have” because Country has been “severed”. She has “returned to Country” but, finding it “dead”, “could feel nothing and none” of her Ancestors. She feels haunted, but by what or whom?

I can hear a voice but I can’t make it out. I can hear a song but I can’t catch the words. I can hear the wind and it’s stealing my breath. I can hear nothing and it is screaming.

Country is part of her, but she wants to be free of the haunting, the “wordless voice”, the “phantom presence” that won’t go away. There is a wind, but it is “coming from the wrong direction – away from Country”. Then,

The wind changes, it caresses my back, and suddenly it’s coming from Country.

However, at the same time, a man appears and threatens her. There are now two voices – his and the Ancestors. This is a story about a battle between disempowerment (represented by the man) and empowerment (represented by the Ancestors). Is she, and are they, strong enough to prevail?

I suspect this story was inspired by an experience Coleman describes in her article in Writing the Country (The Griffith Review 63). She describes the life-changing experience of going to Country in 2015, her family’s Country that had been taboo due to a massacre that had occurred there in the nineteenth century. She writes:

I didn’t go there until 2015, that place changed my life forever, my world, my life, even the way I breathed. I took the taboo air into my lungs and I did not die or maybe I did. The bones of my feet landed on the sand and returned to life, I was born again on Country. The story of that place made me a storyteller; story is in my veins.

She says an old man told her that “no matter where we go Country calls out to us” and she writes of the bird, the Wirlo (or curlew), that “to me and mine are family”. Its cry, its scream, “calls me home” – as does the night bird in this story. She describes how Country cares for people as they care for Country. She writes:

I wept when I realised Country had not forgotten me even when I did not know Country. My old-people, my ancestors, would care for me.

All of this is seems embedded in “Night bird”, so now, back to it. It is another example of “Indigenous futurism”. It is ground very much in the real world. The voices that our narrator hears are mysterious, sometimes coming from her phone, sometimes from the air around her, but they are not magical, not fantastical, they are the Ancestors – and the story envisions a healthy relationship with them and thus Country.

On her website, Coleman includes a link to an interview she did with VerityLa after Terra Nullius came out. Among the questions was that one we readers love, which is whether any authors or novels influenced her. The first one she named was HG Wells’ War of the worlds, because it “is great in giving an understanding of how to show an overwhelming powerful enemy destroying a less well-armed defender”.  “In fact,” she says, “War of the Worlds is a powerful text for the examination of invasion and colonisation”. You can certainly see its influence in Terra Nullius, and it is evident here too.

Claire G. Coleman
“Night bird”
in Ellen van Neerven and Rafeif Ismail (ed.), Unlimited futures: Speculative, visionary Blak+Black fiction
North Fremantle: Fremantle Press in association with Djed Press, 2022
pp. 66-73
ISBN: 9781760991463 (eBook)