Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Eucalyptus

Listening to:

Shostakovich, film music for The Tale of the silly little mouse. If that isn't one of the more appealing titles for a classical work, I don't know what is. This is part of a CD of all sorts of film soundtracks by Shostakovich, and they're all pretty good, though not really very meaningful.

Just read:

Eucalyptus, by Murray Bail.

This is a beautifully written “fairy-tale” novel set in post-WWII Australia. It's the story of a father who decides that only someone who can name all of the species of eucalyptus trees on his big rural property (which species he has been obsessively collecting for years), will be allowed to marry his beautiful daughter.

There are lots of little stories embedded into the main narrative, and these, like the over-arching story-line, are told in an appealing, misty and distant tone. The characters are never really explained with any depth, but this seems reasonable as one feels they are playing out mythic roles in the larger drama. It is in this sense that I think it is a fairy-tale, not because it is at all cutesy or child-like.

The ending is clever, and provides a neat finish to a great read.

Now reading:

Hanna's daughters: a novel of three generations by Marianne Fredriksson.

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