Be prepared to have many of your senses stimulated with this descriptive story, set in the heart of Tasmanian forests. The sight, smell and sound of the trees becomes the background to a fresh and honest look at small town workers involved in a world- wide process. The setting gives perspective to the lives of the main characters, who interact in the way that people faced with hardship and change often do.
The characters range from an elderly grandfather, who has seen all the logging, and also been a part of it, to a young boy faced with the anger of parents who struggle to make ends meet all the time. Each of the characters has challenges in living, and also, with their environment. Miki, whose parents burned to death in a house fire, is looked after by her brother who locks her in their Fish and Chip shop to protect her. As she was home schooled by her mother, the eighteen- year old knows little of the world. She does know how much she loves the trees and the native animals though.
Leon has come from Bruny Island and has a job as a Park Ranger. There is little respect in the town for anyone vaguely associated with “Greenies.” To his dismay, Leon discovers this when he goes out to football training and is flattened time after time by the loggers. He is small but speedy so needs to outrun them when he can. Gaining their acceptance will be an enormous task, but one which he decides to stick too.
The story revolves around these characters and their issues. The young boy Max has a dog he loves, but his father finds the animal just another mouth to feed. When you feel that the hardship and tough attitudes are overwhelming, someone will stop and make a decision which reveals humanity under the desperate layers. It is this humanity which gives the book a positive feel, acknowledging the hardships, but revealing laughter and kindness as well. The dilemma is to find alternative employment for the loggers. Tourism is one aspect to be developed, but the process is slow.
Karen has presented a thoughtful scenario, and one which everyone should ponder.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|