- 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: “..it rained hammers of wet.”
- Trivia: #AWW AusWomenWriters
- Trivia: List of Challenges
- The book recounts the effect of a hurricane on a group of Australians
- …stranded on a Coral Island.
- Love, infidelity, passion and prejudice
- …all come together in the ‘eye of a hurricane’.
- The plot is cleverly set within the saying of the Mass by a local Catholic Bishop.
- The characters are overwhelmed by their sinful unworthiness.
- “Domine, non sum dignus…” (Lord, I am not worthy…).
- Astley left the Catholic Church…..but she is not without God.
- She show us how her characters (…as well as Astley)
- found God outside of Christian practice.
- Thea Astley is blessed with a ‘nose for the lurking detail’.
- That is what makes her writing so exceptional in my opinion.
- What is unique about Astley was her readiness to take a side track.
- Her satire about the ‘steamy’ side of the Catholic clergy’s sexual urges
- ….that we now know more of… is bold!
- Priest Father Lake is just bout to ‘crack’ under the oppressive heat and his vocation.
- “…he could observe tantalizingly the brown John Terope (house boy)
- …padding between the lime trees towards the water tanks behind the school.” (pg 27)
- Even in the 1960’s Astley could see how it all
- tied up and was not afraid to publish it in her books!
- Tone: biting satire
- Astley criticizes the Catholic belief system…yet again!
- She exposes the weaknesses of the church adherents and the
- …bishop is very unsympathetic
- …and there is nothing ‘divine’ about him!
- … Astley is a master writer!
Don’t you wish you could write like this?
- The bliss flaked off within months and there they were…
- the contestants, one battered, one victor…
- and the ropes sagging all around the ring.” (pg 60)
- “Taking a lover was no more to her than…
- …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)