It's Raining in Mango
"One family traced from the 1986s to the 1980s: from Cornelius to Connie to Reever, who was last seen heading north.
"Cornelius Laffey, an Irish-born journalist, wrests his family from the easy living of nineteenth-century Sydney and takes them to Cooktown in northern Queensland where thousands of diggers are searching for gold in the mud. The family confronts the horror of Aboriginal dispossession - Cornelius is sacked for reporting the slaughter. His daughter, Nadine, joins the singing whore on the barge and goes upstream, only to be washed out to sea.
"The cycles of generations turn, one over the other. Only some things change. That world and this world both have their Catholic priests, their bigots, their radicals. Full of powerful and independent characters, this is an unforgettable tale of the other side of Australia's heritage."
"I'd be surprised if a better Australian novel appeared this year." - Inez Baranay, Australian Book Review
"No reader ever can have doubted that Astley is a brilliant and witty writer but, in this novel, she seems to have chosen a form which is ideal for her peculiar mixture of human concern and intellectual sharpness." - Susan McKernan, The Bulletin
"Reads like a dream reunion where relatives swap stories with ancestors and descendants about disease, flood, racism, violence...Yet they maintain an almost inexplicable will to continue on the edge of despair." - Los Angeles Times
Even at the end of things she is still looking for a reason as she had been at the beginning, puzzling in a muddleheaded way while she watches that fool Reever, legs dangling from fifty feet up where he has lashed himself for the third day into the crown of a celerywood tree.
Along the new road being hacked through the rain forest, bulldozers grumble and snort and shove brutally at the matted green, blades skimming challengingly towards the heads of protesters buried up to the neck or nudging back a still chanting mob of greenies. She shifts the binoculars upwards and catches sight of Reever's straining face as he peers back down the track through leaves. There's a gummy smile on his mouth, the set look of martyrdom frozen into a kind of dubious bliss. His greying hair is blowing in jagged slices all over his lined and kindly mug and his hoicked-up skirt and the vulnerability of his middle-aged shanks make Connie want to weep.
From the Penguin paperback edition, 1989.
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Last modified: November 16, 2004.