Being in Australia I thought I'd get to an Aussie author and looked up Shelleyrae's blog where lots of Aussie authors are featured. This book was also available at the library and was a natural choice.
After eight very distraught years Cate returns to the family farm. Her brother Elliot disappeared without trace eight years before and now she comes back to find that her parents have decided to sell the farm (by consensus it has to be) and move to the city mainly because Cate's father Blake is suffering from very severe hip pain and needs urgent hip replacement surgery. He cannot tackle the myriad problems on the farm and to Cate's eyes things are starting to go to rack and ruin.
Cate vehemently opposes her father and mother on selling the farm because she feels that Elliot is still alive and will return one day. Leonora and Blake (the parents) have given up and just want to let it go. Cate calls in Natalie her aunt (who would like to remain as an observer throughout and not get involved), Mellor a local worker and Finch who follows her from Sydney in her quest to get to the root of Elliot's disappearance.
The story was basic in its essentials but it handles the situation of a death without the closure of having a body to prove that one has died very well. Grief apparent in all deaths becomes so much worse when one does not really know whether the person is dead or merely missing and as in Cate's mind where she has the utmost faith that her brother is alive, it brings to mind the feeling that there is a tiny, tiny chance that Cate could well be right. The antipathy and bitterness that the whole situation brings about between Cate on the one side and her parents on the other is hard to accept but it is reality at its best.
Apart from the effect that Cate had on her family, the effect that it had on Cate as a person was tremendous. She was living in a time warp and focussed only on her brother's disappearance. Everything else was of secondary importance. This effected her not just her personality but also her physical health very badly.
Racism in its most ugly form is highlighted in this story. The story of the Lost Generation heart breaking in any way is specific to this story. How the Aboriginal people were treated by Australians at the time is not easy even now, to read about. But again, this is reality at its harshest.
Not an easy novel to read but one I am glad I did.