Tuesday, June 3, 2014

So you don't know who Randolph Stow was? Neither did I, but I still liked this book: Moving Among Strangers: Randolph Stow and My Family, by Gabrielle Carey

University of Queensland Press, 2013
228 pp

A few months back while blurb-reading through the longlist for Australia's Stella Prize, the blurb of Moving Among Strangers caught my eye. I have no idea why -- I had absolutely no clue who Randolph Stow was, so really, my interest probably shouldn't have been so piqued.  But it was as if this book somehow managed to exert some strange, weird pull on me and all I know is that I had to have it.  While Randolph Stow, his writing, and his feelings about being a writer in Australia are all  certainly a big part of this book, it is also a very personal sort of memoir of the author, Gabrielle Carey, who, because of her interest in Stow, comes to understand more about her mother and father, and finds herself reconnected to long-absent members of her extended family.  It is indeed a little gem of a book that combines her own family story to the story of this writer who penned the line  "we are here as shipwrecked mariners on an island, moving among strangers, darkly." As I read through her memoir, I came to realize that this line out of Stow's The Girl Green as Elderflower (one of two epigraphs) took on a surprising amount of meaning in both lives.  

I've posted about this wonderful book on the nonfiction page of this reading journal blog; the link is here. It's a book I definitely and highly recommend.

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