Christine Bongers (author)
Woolshed Press (Random House), Australia: 2009; 232pp
Genres: realistic fiction
Issues: family, friendship, identity, perceptions, tolerance, truth, values
Cecilia Maria Vanderbomm was named after saints and martyrs. Having five brothers is enough to make anybody a martyr but she has no intention of becoming a saint. Especially not with the ‘icky Kapernicky' girls newly arrived on a neighbouring property. Cecilia doesn't do ‘girly' things so she can't understand why her mother is so keen to have her befriend them.
It is 1972 and times are tough in back-country Queensland. Drought stalks the land. Poverty haunts the farms. Caught up in the fight to maintain her place in the family pecking order, Cecilia nevertheless finds that the Kapernicky family casts disturbing shadows on her simple life. Cecilia finds herself intrigued by the older girl, Janeen, but wary of the burning rage quick to surface in the younger Aileen. Decades later Cecilia drags her own teenagers back to her hometown in order to settle a debt with the past.
Dust examines the ways our childhood experiences and choices can haunt our later lives. The narrative's somewhat meandering story arc may be offputting to inexperienced readers but this is a character-driven novel, very much an exploration of the perceptions and values that drive our choices. Those choices determine who we become as adults, the nature of our relationships and how we live our lives. Dust challenges readers to look beneath the surface to the beauty within ourselves and others. This is finely crafted writing, the language evocative, the charcters portrayed with sparse, vivid imagery - lightning flashes burned into the memory. While the issues are reasonably universal, it's possible that the context may be too parochial to draw as wide a readership as this thought-provoking novel deserves. It would make a good class novel for Yrs7-10. Christine Bongers is a writer to look for in the future, given the quality of this, her first novel.
Warning: sexual abuse
- Useful links for non NSWAGTC Events
- Gifted with Learning Disabilities or Differences
- Seemed gifted when younger, but has lost interest lately…
- October 2012 Newsletter
- New Zealand pulls out of hosting World Gifted Conference in 2013
- Upcoming Events for Parents and Teachers
- 2012 Financial Statement
- Teachers Wanted
Did you know?
was just great! Thankyou for organising it. These sessions are definitely
fuelling my curiosity and increasing my knowledge on G&T.” An attendee at a NSWAGTC seminar