As a woman and her daughter prepare to attend a memorial service for their husband and father, a railwayman, the girl offers the woman her kaleidoscope: ‘You could borrow this, Mum [...] You said it was good for seeing things differently.’ It is a resonant moment, the promise of a magical but fleeting distortion of reality both lovely and desperately sad. The scene also encapsulates The Railwayman’s Wife, a novel imbued with death and the hard slog of new beginnings – and with notions of ‘seeing things differently’.
Seeing things differently
The Railwayman’s Wife
by Ashley Hay
Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 256 pp, 9781743314449
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