Discover more from A Book For Ants: Bite-Sized Reviews of Snack-Sized Books
VERTIGO by Amanda Lohrey
Most discussions of who might be Australia’s finest contemporary writer come down to two names: Gerald Murnane and Alexis Wright. And while I firmly lean towards the latter, I feel that Amanda Lohrey is somehow unfairly left out of the equation. Perhaps it is a testament to her unadorned quietude that she is lost in the noise, because to my mind nobody writes the Australian landscape in all its beauty and capacity for devastation quite like her. Elegant. Spare. Crushing.
Following the stillbirth of their son, Luke and Anna move from Sydney to the small town of Garra Nalla, where they must learn to navigate grief in the dry wind of a punishing drought. They befriend the locals, forging connections while trying to reconnect with each other. The gossamer threads of their love are held to the literal flame when a catastrophic bushfire threatens the town.
Despite its brevity, Vertigo is an expansive work; both Australian pastoral and ghost story, a perceptive tale of family loss and environmental catastrophe. Tragedy haunts its pages. Personal. Communal. But much like the ruins of a charred forests, there is life bursting from the ashes.
Vertigo by Amanda Lohrey
Black Inc, 2009