Patrick Allington reviews 'Hope Farm' by Peggy Frew

Patrick Allington reviews 'Hope Farm' by Peggy Frew

Hope Farm

by Peggy Frew

Scribe, $29.99 pb, 352 pp, 9781925106572

'I try to imagine going back': so begins a story about a woman remembering her childhood even when it seems she would just as soon forget it. Hope Farm is Melbourne writer and musician Peggy Frew's second novel. Her terrific début, House of Sticks (2011), was about, among other things, contemporary parenthood and the rhythm of conventional and unconventional lives. Hope Farm explores similar themes, but it pushes further and deeper. Although it is a realist tale, at times Frew's focus on the interpreting and recasting of memories leads to odd-shaped realities; although it is set in the 1970s and 1980s, the novel's focus on counter-culture gives it an unfixed, ethereal quality.

When Karen becomes pregnant aged seventeen, her parents shunt her from Toowoomba West to Brisbane to conceal her from gossipy neighbours. Having resisted heavy pressure to give up the baby for adoption, and now unwelcome at home, she moves to an ashram. There she names the baby Silver and renames herself Ishtar, and begins life again.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Patrick Allington

Patrick Allington

Patrick Allington was the recipient of the inaugural ABR Patrons’ Fellowship, worth $5000. His novel, Figurehead (Black Inc. 2009), was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. His short fiction and book criticism appears in Australian newspapers, magazines, and journals, including regularly in ABR.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.