Say No to Death
"Publishers are often accused of crying 'Wolf'. So much so that when the great moment arrives, and one of them feels that there is only one word to describe a novel, and that word is 'masterpiece', he lacks the courage to use it. For the very sight of it provokes wrath in the critical eye. Better far to let the story make its way unheralded into the reader's mind. This may be the case here, but at any rate it may be said that this is indisputably a great story of love and heroism.
"The scene as readers may expect from Miss Cusack, who scored a brilliant success with Miss Florence James as her partner in Come in Spinner, is laid in Sydney and New South Wales. A young Australian soldier just home from Japan, and the girl whom he first treated lightly, but grew to love and serve as it is seldom given for a man to love and serve a woman, are the hero and heroine of the story. How true is their right to the titles of hero and heroine the reader will soon see.
"All the troubles against which the couple fight so valiantly spring from a doctor's all too hasty decision. Thenceforward their lives resemble a series of rearguard actions fought against this enemy to whom they valiantly cry "No!". Continually they pray that once the next corner is turned, all will be well.
"Fortune eventually deals them a piece of good luck that is typically Australian. It is the prelude to an ecstatic finale. The curtain is then rung down upon this drama of devotion and courage."
Bart Templeton leaned on the ship's rail as the tugs nosed the Kanimbla slowly into the wharf. The upturned faces of the waiting crowd below were as yet only a blur. Behind them the roofs shimmered against a network of masts. Beyond, the skyline of Sydney hung like a painted backdrop in the morning light - the Moreton Bay fig trees dark against the grass on Mrs. Macquarie's Chair; the curve of the headland descending to the trough of Woolloomooloo with its huddle of buildings; the spires pricking the pale sky on which factory chimneys scrawled untidy lines of smoke - all familiar and yet all suddenly new.
The tugs urged the troopship closer to the wharf.
From the Heinemann hardback edition, 1951.
This page and its contents are copyright © 1999-2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Dymphna Cusack Page.
Last modified: February 13, 2002.