A DESCANT FOR GOSSIPS book cover   Beachmasters
Thea Astley

Cover illustration by Bill Farr

Dustjacket synopsis:
"The central government in Trinitas can't control the outer island. But then neither can the British and French masters.

"The natives of Kristi, supported and abetted by some of the hapkas and colons of two nationalities, make a grab for independence from the rest of their Pacific island group. On their tiny island, where blood and tradition are as mixed as loyalties and interests, their revolution is short-lived. Yet it swallows the lives of a number of inhabitants - from the old-time planters Salway and Duchard, to the opportunist Bonser, and the once mighty yeremanu, Tommy Norota himself.

"Salway's grandson Gavi unwittingly gets caught up in Bonser's plans and, in a test of identity too risky for one so young, forfeits his own peace."

First Paragraph:

In the waters of these islands there is a certain fish whose eyes, like the eyes of the chameleon, are able to look in opposite directions at the same time.

Like aeland Kristi.

Kristi last winter and the summer before that, while the wind off the Channel was munched by the wooden teeth of the shutters.

Like man Kristi - man bush or man solwata.

Like the colons and the British ex-patriates and the rag dolls District Agent Cordingley with his wife Belle and French District Agent Boutin and Madame Boutin and Planter Salway and his grandson Gavi and Gavi's mamam, Lucie Ela, and Madame Guichet and Cloe of the Dancing Bears and a beach bum from the big land, man blong Australia, whose real name was never known, with a lifetime of small riots behind and more in his blood like bubbles.

From the Penguin paperback edition, 1985.

This page and its contents are copyright © 1998-2004 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: November 16, 2004.