Written as a prose poem Finding the Place by Margaret Collett both surprised and delighted me. Although I don’t dislike poetry and some I find very moving it is not a genre that I would seek out to read and certainly didn’t expect to find that this was a book I simply could not put down.
Collett starts by describing the geography and physicality of the small country town ‘Tillers Gap, located in the Blue Mountains, with the Beladgery River running through the abandoned mines of its former gold rush years. We get a feel for an Aussie country town with its wide streets, old buildings with wide verandahs. She makes us want to visit before telling us that a coal mine has opened a few kilometres from these streets. Then she invites us to meet the locals decide for ourselves on how welcoming the town is.
The remainder of the narrative is prose poetry and the lyrical nature gets us to the heart and soul of those we meet as Collett draws a vivid picture of their character and their dilemmas. She builds the tension as she weaves us deftly into the lives of those we meet and we find we care about them as people desperate that the outcomes for them are good.
The different characters narrate their story which forms a continuous narrative where the tension built and had me hanging on the edge of my seat. I became part of the world of Tilller’s Gap. The social issues dealt with are ones to which we can all relate. Mitch, a worker at the mine starts the story. We hear his family problems and then the big dilemma he has at the mine is raised. What will he do. You’ll have to buy it and see. You won’t be disappointed. It is available on from Amazon both in kindle format and paperback.
Having lived in small country towns in rural Australia most of my life I know the characters intimately. They are in every country town and for a taste of Australia this book will more than satisfy you.