Thursday’s Child – Tori’s Book Review

January 18, 2018 at 7:50 am | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, high school, historical fiction, Nature, Reading, Ways of Living, Writing | 7 Comments
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I am writing a few blog posts to introduce the main character in my new Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child, which is set in 1960-61 Australia. Victoria Delaney is fourteen, in her second year of high school. She wants to become a teacher one day, but events conspire against her.

As part of their English subject, Tory and her class were asked to write a review of a book they enjoyed. Here is Tori’s book review:

 

*         *         *

 

My book is “Man-shy”, by Frank Dalby Davison. It was published in 1931 by Angus and Robertson, and won best novel of the year. The other part of its title is “A Story of Men and Cattle”.

I loved this story, even though I had a feeling it would not end well; after all how can cattle win when they take on men? The main “character” for the cattle in the scrub is the red heifer, who becomes the red cow. The main human character on the cattle station is the stockman Splinter. We don’t see a lot of either of them in the story, but they are strongly present through it.

The author Mr Davison seems to really understand men and cattle and that makes the animals and people real instead of made-up. He shows the difference between the docile cattle of the paddocks and the wild cattle of the rugged ranges. There is also a difference between the cruel owner who only sees cattle as “beef on the hoof” to be turned into profit, and Splinter who is more sympathetic. Splinter is still a man though, and still has to catch and brand them.

Mr Davison really makes me see the countryside and feel the feelings of both man and beast. I like his descriptions of the spirited red cow who only wants to live in freedom. I also love how he writes, sentences like: “The sun went down behind the range, drawing the light with it.”(p.92)

The character I most liked is the red cow, and I am on her side all the way through. It is sad when she is caught and branded, but then she is released. Then she is caught again, but escapes. I was happy for her then. But the cattle station is turned into smaller, fenced-off allotments and the wild cattle can no longer get to water.

I was glad when she and her calf escaped from the final trap. Then I realized that she had doomed herself and her calf to the waterless rugged ranges. However, her mates had all perished by violence, while she would at least die as she had lived – free in her beloved scrubland. And that was enough for me.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

 

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Some More Small Stones

January 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Posted in Australia, Experiences, Mental Health, Nature | 2 Comments
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Here are four more of my Small Stones.

I intend to write a proper blog post tomorrow.

 

9. Sharing

At a holiday plaza today, Sunday, a sea breeze cools the sun’s summer heat.

People stroll in ones and twos, but mainly in family groups. 

Children squeal with delight as they splash in the fountains.

At alfresco tables, people dine: 

head-scarfed Muslim women, their husbands and children share a meal of fish and chips;

a Japanese family of three generations also tuck into the same fare;

Southern Europeans and Scandinavians enjoy hamburgers, with soft drink or coffee;

we white Australians relish our lunch of doner kebabs.

We share what we like, what we enjoy from other cultures –

the good things don’t have to be foisted upon us.

Can we not agree to disagree on those things that divide us?

 

10. Acceptance

Ninety-year-old man,

active and independent all his life,

must now accept assistance

in even intimate activities,

because he knows

it is the only way he can remain

living in the home he built himself

almost sixty years ago.

 

11a. Dreams – Crushed Stone

She looks into her mind to watch the thoughts

that flit and circle and wander aimlessly

changing, running together,

like the soft amorphous globs in a lava lamp.

She finally sleeps, and falls into dreams

that come from nowhere and go nowhere;

mares of the night that offer only

frustration and hopelessness,

that echo with futility and despair.

Awakening, she cries out in anger

against these dreams that seem to be

more horribly real that reality.

But at least she awakes.

 

11b Tidy

My desk is tidy at last, after being in a mess for two months.

Today I cleared it and threw out the rubbish.

The rest, I have put into order, so that I can find what I want and what I need for my writing and my work.

I hope I can soon throw out the rubbish in my mind;

the dreams that have recently reflected its turmoil.

 

12. Flying Foxes

Thousands of flying foxes (many people call them bats)

hang from the trees beside the Parramatta River.

From them comes a constant chittering, even though they are supposed to be sleeping.

What are they saying?

Are they talking in their sleep?

I wonder what flying foxes dream about.

 

© Linda Visman

 

Four more of my Writing Stones

January 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Writing and Life | Leave a comment
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Sunset

An evening sky, lightly painted in pale pastels – soft blues and pinks, with a touch of lemon.

But then the setting sun comes along, an artist with a heavier hand and a richer palette, and splashes the sky in flaming orange-red and gold, against a rich teal background.

As the sun disappears, the colours fade, washed to silver-grey in the fading light.

Gradually, the dark of night strips all colour away, but there will be another sunrise in the morning.

 

 Paper Wasp Nest 

An old paper-wasp nest, made from tiny scrapings of wood, and saliva to bind them together, has been dislodged by the wind from under the tree branch that sheltered it.

 So beautifully constructed, so light. Each cell forms a womb for the developing young, which feed on caterpillars supplied by the adults.

 With this home now lost, the female adult must create a new one, perhaps just a few cells at first. In these, she will lay her eggs, to begin a new generation.

 And so the cycle continues. Despite adversity, Nature finds a way to carry on.

 

 Misty

 Misty rain from a pale grey sky

warm and gentle on my skin

brings to my mind the soft fragility

of my unborn grandchild –

so full of promise.

 

Two Feathers

 I see a small, grey feather in the back yard and pick it up. It is sturdy and dense – probably from a Noisy Miner.

There is another small feather in almost the same spot. This one is ultra-fine, downy; unbelievably soft and wispy; speckled brown and white – from a young Tawny Frogmouth owl.

I hold them high between finger and thumb, one in each hand. When I let go, the breeze carries them away.

The Noisy Miner’s heavier feather falls first;

The Tawny’s feather floats high on a soft current of air, and lands lightly further up the slope.

I leave them where they land;

The elements will take them back to themselves.

(c) Linda Visman 2012

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