Sunday, June 6, 2010

The World Beneath

I have finally enjoyed a good book this year. Many thanks to Karen at Bookbath for recommending this one (see her review here). You can also see reviews at Readings and the ABC Book Show. According to Scribe Publications, this books was also
  • Winner of the People's Choice Award for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2010
  • Shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2010 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
  • Shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award 2010
  • Shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal for outstanding literary work
  • Shortlisted for the 2010 Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year
I have a lot of personal connections with this story. when I was younger, we lived on 150 acres of natural bush. My parents made a choice to live without electricity (this is in the 1980's). They made some strong lifestyle decisions, creating an environment for us kids that was very different to the lives of the other kids around us. I remember weekends when 50 - 100 people came to camp on our property, because we lived between Adelaide and Roxby Downs. In the 1980's there were ongoing protests at Roxby Downs against uranium mining on Aboriginal lands. These groups of protesters were inspirational women and men (mostly women) who left an imprint on my mind. Check out this story for an idea of one particular protest.

Needless to say, I related to some of the experiences of the character, Sophie. I also loved the Australian history and geography represented in this novel. If you've never visited Australia, or Tasmania, this is a great book to read for the visual descriptions of the bush. I got sucked right in to this storyline - although I just couldn't stand Sandy - self centred and self absorbed. I did, however like Sandy's friends, and the way to author depicted the bohemian life Sandy had created for herself.

A good read, historically and geographically, and a interesting analysis of family life affected by the choices individuals make along the way.


A Bookish Way of Life said...

Wow! Sounds like such an interesting book that explores a family life that is vastly different then what society would consider typical. Reminds me of this Aussie friend I made in England who told me how her mother made her and her brother home-made yogurt, muesli, basically everything they ate. They weren't taking tips to McDonalds and the like. I thought that was so interesting, because being American, I was raised on fast food and all of those horrible conveniences that have seemingly destroyed our environment and health. I'll definitely be adding this book to my list of books to buy. Thank for the heads up!

Karen said...

I'm so glad you really enjoyed this one. I agree with you about Sandy in many ways too!