Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Into That Forest

Stunning and unforgettable, 'Into That Forest' is an impressive teen fiction debut for playwright Louis Nowra.

The story is told through the eyes of Hannah O'Brien, a seventy-six year old woman who recalls her early life. She apologises for her poor language. In her words, 'me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again.'

The novel takes us back to early colonial Tasmania - a harsh and foreboding land that is slowly being tamed by white settlers.

Hannah and her parents live in a house by the river, hours from their nearest neighbour. Indeed, Hannah was born in this same house.

One day Hannah, her parents, and her childhood friend Becky take a boat trip that turns into tragedy during a storm. Both Hannah's parents die and Hannah and Becky are left to find their own way home.
Cold and lost, the two girls follow a pair of Tasmanian tigers to their den and find a degree of safety. Initially the girls are caught between two worlds. In order to survive, they start to hunt and live with the animals. They begin to communicate in barks and coughs. Their senses become heightened. They become excited by the thrill of the hunt. Their clothes become rags and they discard them, stroking mud on their bodies as a layer against the cold.

But what happens when they are discovered?

This is an amazing novel, measured and believable, containing an exquisite tone.

Highly recommended.

-Ann

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