Sunday, March 8, 2009

Eucalyptus by Murray Bail

The premise of this book is one of classic fairy tales - the suitor must perform a task to show he deserves the princess's hand in marriage. This challenge is to name hundreds of species of Eucalyptus.

At this book's heart is storytelling and identity. Each chapter is titled for one of the trees to be named and a characteristic of that tree is illustrated within. The enigmatic storyteller with whom Ellen falls in love is the one person who treats her as an individual rather than a possession, trophy or symbol. Why would she not love him?

It is an odd novel with a dreamlike quality. Ellen's fatalistic acceptance of her father's decree is so unlikely as to place the book firmly in the realm of symbollic fantasy. I really enjoyed immersing myself in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment