Craft for a Dry Lake
Anchor, $22.40 pb, 266 pp
‘We had always been close’ is the first sentence of Kim Mahood’s beautifully crafted memoir. She is speaking of her father who was killed in a helicopter crash while mustering cattle on his remote Queensland property. Craft for a Dry Lake is about the journey she made through the outback country of her childhood following his death.
Although autobiographical this is not an autobiography. Mahood remains enigmatic revealing little of herself except in exquisitely drawn sketches which are left to the reader’s imagination to complete. Neither is it a biography: we hear of Joe Mahood’s childhood through stories he told to his children and follow him in relation to the narrator’s own life, but it does not tell her father’s life story. It describes the relationship between a father and a daughter who was a dearly loved eldest child. Although not always an easy relationship, it shows the love, admiration and respect the daughter has for her father and the immense influence he had on her life from which even now she is trying to escape.