17 September, 2010

townsville stories and townsville authors

i am discovering more richly evocative townsville literature, thanks to library colleagues who have lived here for longer than I. and soon it will be time again for one title one townsville, which was such a success earlier this year with alex miller's journey to the stone country.

which book will be the one that all townsville reads?

i have most enjoyed estelle pinney's house on the hill because estelle portrayed the multiculturalism of townsville, and her characters covered the landscape well.
the story revolves mostly around a family of women, but the men are also strongly drawn, especially Nicos, the Greek cafe owner and Belle's sometimes lover.

a few weeks ago i smelled the luscious aroma of monsoon season that so beautifully conveys our northern summer mood. it was still autumn.
today i started kay donovan's bush oranges. kay writes the monsoon so beautifully.

For the first two months in Tully it rained every day, sheets of rain. Heavy, drenching rain you couldn't walk through.... The rainforest shaded the house and kept the inside cool and moist, even when the clouds cleared enough to let the tropical sun shine through. (Donovan, 2001, pp 38-39).

Set in the brooding, tempestuous climate of North Queensland from the 1920s to the 1990s... (from jacket blurb)

I love that NQ's climate is tempestuous and the landscape evocative. Not for us the ordinary adjectives like 'liveable' and 'friendly'.

Bush Oranges has multiple female narrators with many local landmarks making the cut: The Strand, Belgian Gardens, the Criterion Hotel, Magnetic Island and Tully. One of my grandmothers was born in Tully, and NQ remains her favourite place. She dreams about it from Brisbane.

With my cataloguing colleague, Anne, I plan to create a local authors/local stories page on the library website where we highlight some evocative Townsville literature from our collection. Although I have not yet read Thea Astley's The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow, I expect we will include that. Thea Astley taught school here and visited the city library here (not in its present location). And of course Janette Turner Hospital, who I understand taught at JCU some time ago.

This is going to be such fun.

No comments: