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November 22, 2017


A Boat Load of Home Folk

by N@ncy

Winslow Homer


  • Author: Thea Astley  (1925-2004)
  • Title: A Boat Load of Home Folk
  • Published: 1968
  • Genre: social satire
  • Setting: Coral Sea Island
  • “…it was Maugham country”  (tropical setting)
  • “…Everything was  Gauguinesqe.”
  • Timeline: 48 hours
  • Weather: “ rained hammers of wet.”
  • Trivia: #AWW    AusWomenWriters
  • Trivia: List of Challenges



  1. The book recounts the effect of a  hurricane on a group of Australians
  2. …stranded on a Coral Island.
  3. Love, infidelity, passion and prejudice
  4. …all come together in the ‘eye of a hurricane’.
  5. The plot is cleverly set within the saying of the Mass by a local Catholic Bishop.
  6. The characters are overwhelmed by their sinful unworthiness.
  7. Domine, non sum dignus…” (Lord, I am not worthy…).
  8. Astley left the Catholic Church…..but she is not without God.
  9. She show us how her characters (…as well as Astley)
  10. found God outside of Christian practice.
  11. Thea Astley is blessed with a ‘nose for the lurking detail’.
  12. That is what makes her writing so exceptional in my opinion.
  13. What is unique about Astley was her readiness to take a side track.
  14. Her satire about the ‘steamy’ side of the Catholic clergy’s sexual urges
  15. ….that we now know more of… is bold!
  16. Priest Father Lake is just bout to ‘crack’ under the oppressive heat and his vocation.
  17. “…he could observe tantalizingly the brown John Terope (house boy)
  18. …padding between the lime trees towards the water tanks behind the school.” (pg 27)
  19. Even in the 1960’s Astley could see how it all
  20. tied up and was not afraid to publish it in her books!
  21. Tone:  biting satire
  22. Astley criticizes the Catholic belief system…yet again!
  23. She exposes the weaknesses of the church adherents and the
  24. bishop is very unsympathetic
  25. …and there is nothing ‘divine’ about him!
  26. #MustRead
  27. … Astley is a master writer!


Don’t you wish you could write like this?


  1. The bliss flaked off within months and there they were…
  2. the contestants, one battered, one victor
  3. and the ropes sagging all around the ring.” (pg 60)


  1. Taking a lover was no more to her than…
  2. …an after work gin …” (pg 75)


PS:  One of my favorite images:

  • Miss Paradise and Miss Trump..
  • …genteel ladies trying to graciously climb into a dinghy to go ashore.
  • Astely captures this perfectly!
  • “…the orgy of leg and thigh and overbalance…” (pg 16)


5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 27 2017

    I do love your love of Astley!
    I really will get to her one day soon 🙂



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Australian Women Writers Challenge 2018 | NancyElin
  2. #AusReadingMonth Wrap Up | NancyElin
  3. Classic: Thea Astley | NancyElin
  4. #AusReadingMonth 2019 A Kindness Cup | NancyElin

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