Dancing on Coral
Angus and Robertson, 291 pp, $19.95 hb 0 207 15522 4
A mixture of courage and an innocent hopefulness seem to be the necessary ingredients for finding rewards and compensations during the painful searching after self-knowledge. Lark Watter, the student daughter of Henry and Mrs Watter, embarks, as so many do, on the voyage of self-discovery.
The reviewer of Dancing on Coral is confronted by a book of enormous variety which does not lend itself to long generalisations. It is a comic epic and a sharp satire. The development of its main themes is punctuated by explosions of improbable farce. The physical background in New York and in France is presented with great power and clarity, but there are few clues as to the location of Lark Watter’s home where the action begins. One passing reference to the War Memorial in Canberra may easily be overlooked in the excitement as a mad sheep hurls itself against the door of the basement where Lark and her mother are sheltering. Where has the sheep come from? The setting is suburban and not rural. Has the sheep escaped on its way to the slaughter house or wandered from a poorly fenced small holding? The truth is stranger.