Write about what you know about is a long held maxim – and so Australian author Alex Miller has.
As a younger man he spent time in the Queensland highlands working as a stockman. He conjures up a time and place and brings it to life: hard, hot and dry, low scrub and a story of heartache to match. The time is the late 1940s, the setting is Mount Hay and surrounding highlands. Bobby Blue (Blewitt) is 19 and a born and raised stockman. He is used to and almost part of the harsh country. He is also in tune with the people and their ways.
The story begins with the arrival of the new police constable and his family up from the coast and looking to experience something different. Bobby Blue, also looking for a change, signs on as the constable’s offsider. From the outset we know that there’s trouble ahead and, in his very particular style, Bobby Blue tells us about it.
The author has written several novels which have been very well received and this latest offering will undoubtedly be equally so. It is well written with an idiosyncratic voice that draws you in and keeps you reading despite the impending feeling of disaster.
By Alex Miller
(Allen & Unwin)