This quintessentially Australian novel by Tracy Sorensen captures the essence of Australia in a quirky way that had me captured (like Lucky) from the moment I started reading.
The narrator is Lucky a pink and grey Galah that doesn’t have a name for most of his life until he comes into the hands of Lizzie. We learn of Lucky’s life from Chickhood to present, life in the remote Western Australian town of Port Badminton which served as a tracking station for the moon landing, and particularly the life of one of the trackers Evan and his beautiful wife Linda and young child Jo who moved from Melbourne to be a radar technician for the Appollo 11 mission. Lucky picks up stories from those that pass his cage, the television, magazines he reads before destroying and the Dish (as it and galahs are on the same communication channel.) As Galahs are born storytellers Lucky cannot resist passing on the story.
Linda was the daughter of a commie and a refugee and had spent her entire life trying to be normal. When Evan went for training in Houston normality went out the window and she allowed herself to be herself with consequences. The moon landing itself brought back my own memories of huddling around one television in the science lab watching awestruck. After reading this I wondered for the first time whether my school had hired televisions for the occasion. I thoroughly enjoyed reliving the 1960’s in a small community. Tracy Sorensen is either the same age as myself and didn’t need to research or she did her research well as everything Jo Evans did – so did I.
Would I recommend this book – yes – highly – it is abeautifully written Australian literary novel that shows, with great wit and understanding, what it is to be human at a time that stopped the world – the first foot on the moon. It showcases life in a small community in Australia then (and I have to admit probably now). Put on top of those reasons – it is narrated by a galah. How could you not want to read it?
For those who don’t know what a galah is I have added my own photo above.