Rhyll McMaster reviews 'Where the Trees Were' by Inga Simpson

Rhyll McMaster reviews 'Where the Trees Were' by Inga Simpson

Where the Trees Were

by Inga Simpson

Hachette Australia, $29.99 pb, 296 pp, 9780733634536

It has been two hundred and seventy-six years since Pamela was published, the first piece of writing in English in the novel form; it was a structure designed both to entertain and instruct, and still we are debating if the concept was a good idea.

Inga Simpson is the author of two previous novels, Mr Wigg (2013) and Nest (2014). Both have been critically acclaimed and shortlisted for literary prizes, and Nest was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. This pedigree raises expectations that Where The Trees Were is a significant book of ideas.

Simpson has decided on a popular construct, the social historical narrative – the story of Jayne, a country girl, who becomes an art history curator. Her four best friends are boys from local properties, and we follow them as their lives play out after a tragic accident changes the group forever.

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Rhyll McMaster

Rhyll McMaster

Rhyll McMaster's latest poetry collection, Late Night Shopping, was highly commended in the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Her prize-winning, internationally published and translated novel, Feather Man, was published in 2007.

Published in April 2016, no. 380

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