Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ALL THAT SWAGGER BY: Miles Franklin!

The novel's hero, Irish immigrant Danny Delacy, is modelled upon Miles Franklin's paternal grandfather, Joseph Franklin, and the exploits and adventures of four generations of Delacys on the land around the headwaters of the Murrumbidgee River follow roughly the fortunes of the Franklin family from 1833 to 1933. 'Fearless Danny's' story begins in 1833 by the Shannon in County Clare when he and his Johanna elope and take ship for the Antipodes. In Sydney, discovering that land grants had ceased in 1831, Danny sets out as a hired man for Bandalong, one of the most remote stations, far beyond the already-populated Goulburn plains, past Lake George, Gounderu (Gundaroo) and the Limestone Plains. Always the mountains further south beckon Danny 'as the Lorelei', so after a spell of hired labour to accumulate fifty head of cattle and a dozen horses he finally makes his way to a valley that the Aborigines call Burrabinga. As the seasons pass, the station, Burrabinga, is carved out of virgin land and Johanna produces sons and daughters who go to school in Sydney and become the second Delacy generation. Significant Australian events dot the narrative, conveying a sense of historical continuity - the gold rushes, the Robertson and Duffy Land Acts, free selection, self-government, the Boer War. From its cohesive opening the narrative falls away (especially after the first generation) into a discursive series of episodes and events, broken only by the favourite Miles Franklin device of 'possuming' or yarning - meandering, conversational reflections on the rapidly changing scene. Generations merge, each leaving its imprint on the others. Themes become interwoven, the focus of attention shifting easily from one to another. The novel's canvas becomes crowded with more and more participants as the century gradually moves to its ending in the modern day (1933) when the fourth generation Brian Delacy, aviator, lifting his plane into the Murrumbidgee sky, glimpses in his mind's eye 'the spectral forms of bullock transport and receding Delacys moving against ancient unfamiliar apparitions on the palimpsest of Time'.

*This book is a must read! It shows how generations can be caught up in living life that's much more full of this is and that than what their parents had.  Note the characers in each generation as they move away the normal way of life into and into a life of having more and being more.  Get this book today and see why we here at Diva's House of Literary Coffee really love this story.*

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