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‘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.

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When Geraldine Brooks went through her father’s possessions after his death, she found the bundles of letters which prompted her to write Foreign Correspondence. Lawrie Brooks had been in the habit of writing to politicians and intellectuals with ideas and questions, and he had kept all their replies. Each letter, Brooks reflects, is ‘a small piece of the mosaic of his restless mind’. Because her father hoarded his past in photographs and newspaper clippings as well as letters, she had the makings of an intimate portrait of a reserved and unhappy man.

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