5 journalers for this copy...
The author employs a lot of magical realism and symbolism; and I think my brain is just not up to absorbing it all, I am having a busy time at work!
I loved the Australian setting of this book though; I could imagine the town so well and many of the characters reminded me of family and friends. I liked the way that Murray Bail wove different species of gum trees into his narrative; this is a picture of a ghost gum which features in the book.
It is a very sweet, old fashioned fairytale. A father, obsessed with eucalytpus trees, plants many hundreds of that species. His daughter is a beautiful young girl and in order to win her hand, and to prove they are worthy of her, prospective suitors must successfully identify each type of tree on the father's property. Needless to say, a handsome prince does come along to rescue the girl, but it does not necessarily happen in quite the way the reader imagines...
Anyway, I hope tangledthreads, and whoever else discovers this novel thereafter, enjoys it.
I skipped the next 90 pages or so, because although I enjoyed Murray Bail's writing in the first half of the book, I just wasn't quite interested enough to read all the 'filler' stories that padded out the second half. I came back about 25 pages from the end where the daughter is ill with despair, then the inevitable happens and you know that the right people will live happily ever after.
As a fairy tale, the concept of the story works, but I really think it should have been a novella or short story. I'm sure the spirit of the Australian landscape could have been retained in a condensed version. There are probably some people who the history and folklore of the eucalyptus really appeals to - and I'm honestly not averse to it in small doses - but I think Murray Bail's obsession is equal to that of his main character, Holland; and personally, I think obsessions are best left with the obsessed and not to be inflicted on the innocent public at large!
Maybe I've been a bit mean, because it's well-written, a good story, with a good heart. I think some people, in the right frame of mind, would be able to embrace it exactly as it is - I have a friend who always told me how much he loved it. As a whole, though, not for me.
Ready for release. Will take to next Derby Meetup unless requested by someone else, first.
(Update: Tuesday April 13th: Had to refresh offer with different book on relay site as 'Eucalyptus' wasn't claimed. Will take to Derby Meetup tonight, instead.)
Released at tonight's Meetup at the Flowerpot...
enjoy,released as part of bookcrossing birthday today
Released 17 yrs ago (10/12/2004 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Released at Derby's October meetup at The Flowerpot in Derby.