I completed my Higher School Certificate way back in 1992. Commencing university in 2016 (I’ll let you do the math as to how old I am) as a mature age student is both an advantage as I have had more life experience than some of my fellow students, and a disadvantage as I haven’t studied in a long time.
The single most important insight that has come to me from this week’s study of Australian literature is how much I have actually missed it. During high school I recall studying the poems of Judith Wright and at the time not really appreciating her skill as a poet. As I have gotten older I have come to understand her romantic outlook of the world and her relationship towards nature and the passion Wright showed toward the landscape of Australia. I don’t remember studying any Australian novels at that time. I assume there were some- maybe they were not part of the curriculum?
Starting our exploration into Australian literature with Kim Scott’s `That Deadman’s Dance’ has jogged my memory of two fantastic novels that I have read in the last few years. While as Lit students we have a huge amount of reading material before us, if any of you reading this entry are looking for more works I highly recommend the following books.
`Jasper Jones’ by Craig Silvey. Set in a rural mining town in Western Australia, during the summer of 1965, a socially awkward 14 year old boy has a late night visit from Jasper Jones, a young local outcast due to his `White-Aboriginal’ heritage who has discovered a terrible crime has been committed.
The second novel I recommend is called `The Light between the Oceans’ by M.L Stedman. Set in the 1920’s on the Western Australian south west coast, it tells the story of a recently returned WW1 solider and his wife who take up residency on a small isolated island operating the lighthouse when one day a small dinghy washes ashore with a dead man with a small, barely alive infant. The next chain of events will change everyone forever.
I am looking forward to the coming semester and exploring more Australian works.