Billie lives in constant grief for her daughter Jess who was murdered sixteen years previously. She lives now with Jess’s husband, Angus, his teenage son Daniel, and second wife Carla. Billie feels a deep connection to a tree in a park nearby, where she has placed a plaque in memory of her daughter as the place where she was killed. Angus and Carla now want to sell up and move on. However, Billie refuses to consider it due to the overwhelming feeling of wanting to remain near her daughter.
This is very soft and slow. There is a lot to think about, but, for me the threads don’t always gel (the missing boy, the issue about the grass trees). ANZ Litlovers comments that “Book groups will, I think, argue long and hard about Piper’s resolution for Billie.” Personally, I thought the ending was very surprising, and not altogether convincing. The Canberra Times comments that “Set as it is in Queensland, the result is a delightful and highly competent eulogy on that part of the world.”
She “thought that the earth bore her daughter’s energy, her spirit. She believed this ensured her daughter’s immortality.”
“Over time, she learnt that Angus had a skill for finding beauty hidden in wood. He saw it beneath bark, in the rough-sawn face of milled timber. In contours and grains, imperfections and anomalies. He made features of flaws. Was charmed by simplicity.”
Author: Sally Piper