A Treacherous Country by K. M. Kruimink

1. First lines. 2. Published 2020 Allen & Unwin 3. Remote bush track [CC BY 3.0] via FreeAussieStock. Changes: Colour removed, Cutout filter applied 4. Horse image [No known copyright restrictions] via Pikist Changes: Colour and background removed, Cutout filter applied.
Such an entertaining read, with an originality that sets it apart from other historical fiction.

Gabriel Fox arrives in Tasmania from England in the 1840s, with the purpose of finding a woman named Maryanne Maginn who had been transported many years earlier. He believes that if he finds her, he will be favoured in his quest for romance, and he travels north from Hobart Town, meeting various characters (who may or may not help him).

“My evening there had begun indifferently with a meal of gristle unencumbered by beef and a glass of oleaginous vinegar that could scarcely remember the vineyards of Italy (although it did rather evoke the Mediterranean coast, for there was a kind of gritty stuff collected in the bottom of the cup, like sand).”

“Mine was a vile journey of several months, of being tossed from floor to wall, and laughed at by sailors, who continually assured me I would grow accustomed to it – in other words, who lied.”

“When I was a child, I was known as the Careless One amongst my family, for once in 1827 I had forgotten to close a gate behind me. In consequence, a bull escaped and was shot by a neighbour for his Menacing Ways, which embroiled my family in a feud with the neighbour’s family. … In fact, I was not at all Careless. I was a lad of ten years, and had not shut the gate because I had been stung by a bee upon the eyelid, and could scarcely see, and was rushing inside to show my mother, or anyone who might care.”

“A forest of masts moved gently in the hidden swells and tides of the harbour, ropes and furled sails trembling like leaves and vines.”

~Quotes from “A Treacherous Country” by K.M. Kruimink
  • Tegan Bennett Daylight (Australian/Vogels Literary Award): “Witty, warm, lively and delightful. It has an assured voice that rose out of the pages rich, complete and true.”

Awards: 2020 Winner – Vogel Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35.

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