Another shed coming up on the horizon...a low, wide roof of galvanised iron the only landmark in a million square miles of flatness and glare... The sun blazed overhead like a nuclear pile. His hat smelt like a dirty sock. His body was sticky, itchy, tired. The tyres of his old yellow truck, sunk into the sand, gave out a hot, desolate, perished rubber odour, heatwaves balAnother shed coming up on the horizon...a low, wide roof of galvanised iron the only landmark in a million square miles of flatness and glare... The sun blazed overhead like a nuclear pile. His hat smelt like a dirty sock. His body was sticky, itchy, tired. The tyres of his old yellow truck, sunk into the sand, gave out a hot, desolate, perished rubber odour, heatwaves ballooning from the bodywork. The impression he had, glancing back towards the vehicle, was of disintegrating material only just holding together. A split in his hat admitted a hot bar of sunlight onto his scalp. His eyeballs felt like pinpoint charred coals and he wanted to slide down into what shade there was... Yesterday morning he had left a tin-roofed farmhouse far to the south of here - Sharon, his wife, and his three daughters hardly stirring in their sleep as they said goodbye. Then while he was out at the truck tying down the last of his load they woke up more, stumbled from bed and huddled in jumpers, stamping their feet in the chill, hugging themselves in the greyness of first light. Sharon brought him a mug of tea and they stood looking at each other over the steaming rims. Well, there was more to this going away than met the eye. The talk of money. The talk of returning to the country of his childhood. It wasn't the full story...He took the cool, pre-autumnal, misty dawn track away - across sheep paddocks dotted with poplars. In a ground mist a flock of starlings formed a perfect heart collapsing into the tatters of a pine windbreak. It was a reversed image of emotion. He was leaving a house, making a break, following a pattern he barely understood. He only knew it was happening; that he was making it happen, and was going, and if he didn't there was a kind of death he would face, he couldn't name what it was. Into the hard-living world of travelling shearers in the Australian outback comes internationally acclaimed writer Roger McDonald, driving an old truck rattling with cooking gear. He has abandoned writing for a time and found work as a cook for a team of New Zealand shearers working through New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. He is determined to find a sense of belonging: somehow to join his life with the landscape, the places and the people he meets along the way; somehow to fill the inexpressible yearning he feels. Shearers' Motel is the story of that quest, of its triumphs and its failures - a story told with a heartfelt sense of of the profundity of ordinary lives. Written with an insider's affection and familiarity sharpened by an outsider's perception, this moving account of working life in a classic Australian industry gives a new twist to a long tradition of outback travel writing. It confirms Roger McDonald as one of our finest and most lyrical chroniclers of the land - and of the human heart....
|Number of Pages||:||306 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Shearers' Motel Reviews
As you know if you read my recent post about the Bendigo Writers Festival, one of the sessions I’m presenting there is The Chronicler of Oz, in conversation with Roger McDonald. I know Roger’s work through his novels, which I’ve been reading since Mr Darwin’s Shooter was published in 1998, but I wasn’t familiar with his non-fiction. So I was delighted to find that Shearer’s Motel (which won the 1993 National Book Council Banjo Award for non-fiction) is still available, and I’ve just finished reading it.As readers also know by now, I am an indoors sort of person, and like Anita Heiss‘ I find that ‘Five stars are the only stars I want to sleep under‘. But if anyone can convince me of the wonderment of outback life, it’s Roger McDonald, with stunning evocations like this:He came to the summit of a low range, hardly more than twenty or thirty metres’ inclination above the dark scrub. Mild as the elevation was, it had the effect of pushing the horizon down all around, creating a star arena. He had never seen such stars. He was at the centre of their wheel. They put him into their system, shifting across the cab of the truck as he moved along, cramming against the windshield, heaping overhead and cascading down and around and below. Stars filled the rear-vision mirror and reflected on the insides of the windows, stars overlaying stars in sheets and panels of smoky, frozen light. He was drunk from repetition and delay as he stopped and went on, stopped again to piss into a ground-fog of Mitchell grass and prickly shrubs with his head tilted back under the stars; stopped to sit on the heat-creaking bonnet of the truck, then leant back with his spine arching like a space-surfer, afloat on stars, surrendered to them, taken aback. He wanted nothing but this rising into the star-sky. (p. 176).Based on McDonald’s own experience working as a cook for shearing teams, Shearers’ Motel recounts the story of ‘Cookie’, a man in search of his own story, cutting loose from his wife and children and their small farm to venture into remote outback life.To read the rest of my review please visit http://anzlitlovers.com/2015/06/27/sh...
Enjoyed this book.. It wasn't easy reading with so many characters and the first chapter made more sense on re reading it at the end! Very evocative writing.. I could smell the shearing shed.. Worth persevering!