I read Kim Lock’s earlier novel, The Other Side of Beautiful and loved it. I was very excited to hear that her latest had just been published and I was not disappointed.
This is a story about small towns and the characters who live there. Abigail Fancy is the daughter of Young Dick Fancy and Nell Fancy who are town’s mover and shakers. Abigail returns home after a stint in jail despite the fact that she’d sworn she’d never return to the town which drove her out. But after twenty-four years it’s time to face her enemies and her demons.
This is a novel about characters and Lock has delightfully teased out many likeable and unlikable ones. Some are quirky, some inquisitive, some gossipy while others are tough and caring and full of self-importance. At the heart is a down to earth story filled with Australian vernacular laced liberally with humour and wisdom diving deep into misogynistic world where there is little justice.
“Word of Abigail’s return spread fast.
After the barbeque at Young Dick’s, Col Morton, starry-eyed, headed straight downhill to the pub and told the publican, Larry Dinwiddle. Larry told his wife Beverley, the postmistress, who then told Sheila Rocket, who was the first through the post office doors the next morning. ‘
The setting is a small fishing town on the coast of South Australia and Lock paints a great picture of community, the crayfishing industry and landscape.
The story of what happened twenty-four years ago unfolds slowly and the climax towards the end is delightful. Old Dick, the grandfather is dying and has dementia earning his own alternate short chapters when he applies moments of lucidity and brutal honesty and the town’s secrets begin to unravel despite Young Dick’s best efforts to keep a lid on everything.
“How many times do I have to tell him? I’m not gonna be here tomorrow, let alone next bloody Christmas. I’m carking it, I say. Dropping off the perch. Taking a dirt nap. Shuffling off this mortal coil. Dying, I tell him. Are you thick in the head?”
I just loved this book. It’s funny, sad and cleverly constructed with characters you want to spend time with. It would be a great movie and it reminds me of the quirkiness of The Dressmaker. Let’s hope this one makes it to the big screen. In the meantime buy this one and read it.