Sunday, February 19, 2012

The world beneath

I've not long finished reading 'The world beneath' by Cate Kennedy. This is her first novel but she is also a travel writer and short story writer. I read it for book club so I have the benefit of notes to give more detail about the themes and structure of the book. I didn't realise that the structure of the book is based on the Greek mythological story of Persephone's abduction by Hades, king of the underworld (hence the title of the book!). I found the story very interesting as each of the characters was able to give their point of view and that each of the main characters, estranged parents Sandy and Rich and daughter Sophie were on a journey of self discovery. The mother and daughter lived in Ayersville (which made me think that it could be based on Daylesford) although most of the story is set in Tasmania on the Cradle Mountain overland track. The writing showed the beauty, majesty as well as danger of the wilderness. I thought that the writer poked fun at the baby boomer parents with their harking back to their glory days as protesters against the damming of the Franklin river in Tasmania in the early 1980's and their non adaptation of 21st century technology. There were some very funny scenes. Both parents come across as self-absorbed, neither noticing that Sophie was suffering from anorexia. Sophie was angry and moody and found her mother insufferable (not an unusual teenage daughter's view of her mother!). I found it easy to read although I wonder about the symbolism of all of them at different stages in the book of cutting and restyling their hair!

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