The tagline of Wimmera is ‘Small town. Big secret’. Mark Brandi’s first novel does indeed feature a secret (and a grim one, at that), but it also offers a disturbing insight into Australian masculinity. The book opens in the country circa 1989. Ben and Fab are primary school students who, both misfits, while away the hours catching yabbies, playing cricket, and watching The Wonder Years. Fab’s father is abusive, but they find solace in their friendship. Then Ronnie Bellamy appears in their lives. Ronnie is a ‘tall, muscular’ man who works in the nearby mines. He charms the boys with his friendly demeanour and stash of porn magazines, but he has ulterior motives. Fast-forward to 2006: Fab remains in his childhood town, working menial jobs and drinking excessively. He seems reluctant to confront his past, though a gruesome discovery forces him to do just that.
Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'Wimmera' by Mark Brandi
by Mark Brandi
Hachette, $29.99 pb, 272 pp, 9780733638459
Jay Daniel Thompson lectures in the Media and Communications program at the University of Melbourne. For information on his...
By this contributor
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.