In everyone there is an overwhelming desire to belong to something of significance, something of importance in the world, but when that need to belong flies in the face of current socio-political fear mongering, the fall out can be catastrophic. Set in the post war times of 1950’s Australia when the fear of communists and communism was at its peak, being a Socialist/Communist supporter was almost a guarantee to become a social outcast.
Conrad Murphy, a former serving member of the Armed Forces during World War II has been summons to appear before the Espionage Royal Commission in Sydney, on the suspicion that he was a Russian Spy.
Ruby, his wife, is left in Melbourne with their adopted son Alex, under the watchful guise of two dark suited men from ASIO. Fergal Donnelly, a party member, has also been summoned to attend the same Royal Commission. And so the storyline is established for a riveting tale which has a tapped into life as it once was, and the fallout created by discrimination and fear.
Eventually the suspicion that Conrad is a Soviet Spy sees him leaving Australia with his small family, to take up an offer of work as mechanical engineer in England. By the time they arrive, and due to the misinformation being spread about Conrad and his affiliation with the Communist Party, the position was no longer available to him. Facing reality squarely, he and Ruby decide that the best way out of this terrible predicament is to move to Moscow, where he is guaranteed of work, a flat and a socialist lifestyle.
As the days, week’s months and years unfold the grim reality of living life in a Socialist country becomes an everyday reality: a reality of life lived on structures approved by the government where the option of freedom of choice is only a spoken word. Conrad’s family grows to include their natural son Peter, referred to as the Golden Child by Alex, who as the as adopted one feels somewhat left out of family unit.
Meanwhile Ruby hates life in Moscow, struggling to cope and accept the strictures on her and her family. Peter dies mysteriously in a car accident, which as death often does, changes the dynamic of the family unit, in this case significantly.
Ruby has always wished to return to Australia and the way to achieve this is now available to them, encouraged by Conrad’s friend, Valentine, an Observer for the government. The final chapters are played out in Australia as the natural cycle of life moves ever closer to closing.
What The Light Revels is one of those stories which will long remain in the memory as Mick McCoy has defined in a very real and emotive manner, life as it was once lived and the ramifications of choices made by people who choose to walk a different pathways.