One of the Wattle Birds
Penguin, $14.95 pb
Jessica Anderson’s One of the Wattle Birds celebrates the painful arrival into adulthood of Cecily Ambruss. Cecily is nineteen years old. She lives in a flat with her boyfriend, Wil, who, appropriately in view of his name, is studying Law. Cecily is an English student and during the three days over which the novel is set they are both preparing for end-ofyear exams. They are a bright, intelligent, attractive couple. The previous year they backpacked through Europe and India with four friends. Workmen are making a racket in the building where they live (this novel moves between noise and silence) and things are a bit hectic and scattered but not unbearable. In fact, Cecily’s life seems to be following a fairly conventional path towards marriage and a comfortable future in one of Sydney’s pleasanter suburbs.