"Beneath a vast constructed/deconstructed landscape (both human and geographic) lies a labyrinth of disused mineshafts. It is a landscape in which vast saline lakes suddenly appear overnight, in which wheat babies disappear into wheat fields, in which lizards are mistaken for rocks, in which a huge grain silo becomes a cathedral and a gold front-end loader the angel of the apocalypse. It is a place where history repeats/mirrors itself and is populated by doppelganagers and we find ourselves following the after-image of the phosphene as though it was a manuscript hoping for illumination.
"The book deals with multiplicity of perception - through history/memory, national mythologies, families and writing (blood and ink), puzzles and their reasons - which might be said to be their execution."
"Oceana Fine is the name of a new strain of wheat - but there is nothing of uniformity in the novel of that name. It sticks up from the plain of naturalism more jagged and more distinctive than a silo. From realism almost to surrealism, this is a novel always original, exciting, different. Go for it! And three cheers for Tom Flood, a new author with ideas and daring!" - Geoffrey Dutton
About the Author:
Tom Flood was born in Sydney in 1955 and grew up in Western Australia. After working as a wheat sampler, geologist's assistant, tuna fisherman, ore sample pulveriser, bus conductor, paperboy, guitarist and songwriter he began writing prose in 1985. Oceana Fine, Flood's first novel was the winner of the 1988 Vogel Prize. He currently lives in the Blue Mountains where he is working on a second novel, Septimus Grout, 'a legend in which Australia and its fictions are forced to emcompass word from another world.'
The landscape is so immense, hot and huge like nothing on this earth, that I fear it might swallow me. The heat makes its own horizon, multi-layered and inconstant. Out of this mirage runs a highway.
A car approached, a young man at the wheel. He pressed his boot down more heavily on the accelerator pedal and tightened his grip on the wheel. The car burned along the lonely highway through miles of brown-green bushland and straw-coloured paddocks, the stubble of the wheat blotched with charcoal-green tree clumps and bounded only by the endless miles of fencing strung to the horizon.
Not that this car was alien to such a landscape. It was as much a part of it as the pink-and-grey galahs which dived across the red road and swept back over it at the last second, dangerously close to the car front, as if to show their superior powers. Occasionally, too, one proved otherwise. The bare metal floor of the cab was already silted with red-brown dust. The same dust that, in the hard bright light, filtered every angle of view from the car, a cream FC Holden ute with banged-up bodywork and windows that could not be closed for fear of becoming ill in the leaking petrol fumes.
From the Allen and Unwin hardback edition, 1989.
This novel was the winner of the Australian/Vogel Award in 1988.
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Last modified: January 26, 2006.