The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham

1. First lines. 2. Publisher: Pan Macmillan. 3. Riverina sheep (during drought) By Virtual Steve. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
I really liked this book.
Over-the-top and quite facetious, and yet a realistic portrayal of human nature.

Mitch, a farmer, is struggling with drought, and the local Water Board seems intent on making profits rather than helping farmers. He is unhappily married to unhappy Mandy. The real love of Mitch’s life is Neralie, who has just bought the pub in town after living in Sydney for years. It’s war!

“As he drove home he saw that the north fence needed re-straining. ‘You can tell how good a farmer is by the state of his fences, Tink.’ He would fix it. First harvest cheque or wool cheque, he’d fix everything.”

“To Mandy, it was as if someone had tugged an invisible cord and the people turned like vertical blinds, presenting their shoulders to her.”

“Family skirmishes were new to Mitch and he didn’t quite know how to please his recalcitrant aunt, his stormy sister, his garrulous father or his furious wife.”

” He let her open her own door because women in the country thought you thought they were helpless if you opened a door for them”

Quotes from the book.

  • Sydney Morning Herald: “Ham’s voice is never sentimental, it is sardonic and frequently mean. She does have a habit of over-embroidering but despite this The Year of the Farmer seems destined to grip readers ….. Subtlety isn’t a motivator for Ham. She observes a world that is changing as human nature remains unchanged.
  • Publishing Arts Hub: “The reader looking for a good yarn in a rural setting will find it here so long as they are not looking for subtlety of characterisation. There is plenty of action involving the locals in an environment where everyone knows almost everyone else. There are fine descriptions of a variety of farming activities in drought conditions, and the reader will grow to love Mitch’s donkeys and his faithful dog as much as he does.”

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