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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Friday, February 26, 2016

... outback life and love in the early 1900's

Staircase to the Moon by Elizabeth Haran 


Once again, reading Elizabeth Haran's works, I feel like I've entered an Australian travelogue mixed in with Mary Grant Bruce's 'Billabong' series for adults.
The story is interesting, the Australian 'cinderella' seamstress being dictated to by the men of her family (successful tailors) out of a misguided love, organizing her life and her marriage to their advantage. All in an unknowing misogynistic way. Emily Scott rebels and runs off from Perth to the far north of Western Australia to a cattle station out from Broome.
Of course there's the wonderful women of the family, the gorgeous son, World War 1, 'drought and flooding rains.' (referencing My Country by Dorothea MacKellar).
You meet all the characters that one expects from the outback. The mysterious bad tempered chinaman on the voyage up to Broome is interesting, if unlikeable.
I can't help it, I keep looking for Nicole Kidman to step off the set!
I didn't know that during World War 1 the Australian government commandeered the larger boats and thereby the livelihoods of the coastal transport seaman. I can understand why that might have happened but the loss of livelihood and access to remote places increasing the isolation of those north western areas must have been hard.
Staircase to the Moon is a natural phenomena that occurs along the northwestern coast when the full moon reflects off the tidal mud flats once a month from March to October. The book's title is quite a lovely nuanced choice. 
Romance and adventure in the Australian outback in the early nineteen hundreds. What's not to like.

A NetGalley ARC

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