Cheryl Jorgensen reviews 'Bright and Distant Shores' by Dominic Smith

Bright and Distant Shores

by Dominic Smith

Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 488 pp, 9781742374161

Owen Graves, by occupation a house wrecker and by nature a collector, is summoned to the world’s tallest building by the president of Chicago’s First Equitable Insurance Company. Relentless entrepreneur Hale Gray plans to underwrite insurance policies for the masses by seducing them with exotica from the South Sea Islands, as well as live savages in native huts on the roof of his skyscraper. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s travelogues and letters extolling life amid coral reefs and archipelagos, which were published in Chicago’s Tribune, Owen has already been on a collecting expedition. He agrees to Gray’s terms, and takes responsibility for Jethro, Hale’s weak, inept son.

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Cheryl Jorgensen

Cheryl Jorgensen

Based in Brisbane, Cheryl Jorgensen has been surviving (just) as a freelance writer for several years.

Last December the third edition of her novel Brutal, a nonfiction set in Westbrook, was released by New Holland. Her second nonfiction, The Taint, was published in 2008 by Boolarong Press. Jorgensen also writes fiction. Morag Bane, her Young Adult novel, won the Fastbooks Award  in 2004, the same year her adult crime novel, A Quality of Light, was  sole runner-up to the Davitt Prize.

Jorgensen has an MPhil in Creative Writing from UQ. She is currently  researching her PhD thesis in Literature.

Published in March 2011 no. 329

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