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This Place You Know

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it was amazing 5.00  ·  Rating details ·  8 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Hay, New South Wales, 1923. Martha, a classics scholar from the coast, comes to teach in a man's town in the outback. She falls in love with Henry, a local man, and they find their dream place on the river where they raise a family and breed a flock of sheep with fine wool. The unforgiving climate erodes their dreams. When Henry leaves, Martha takes on the outside work and ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published June 7th 2019 by Ginninderra Press
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it was amazing Average rating 5.00  · 
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Nicola-Jane
An exquisite love letter to the outback landscape of rural News South Wales. When Anna’s father abandons family and farm, she and her mother are left to fend for themselves on a piece of land by the river, mired in debt and his longtime neglect. Undaunted, her mother, Martha, manages to keep the farm going with the help of her young daughter.

It is a lonely upbringing for Anna, whose four siblings have gone away to boarding school and college. But Anna, like her mother, has a special relationshi
...more
Maureen Helen
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a poignant story, beautifully written. A young classics scholar, Martha, leaves her family to take up a teaching post in Hay in New South Wales. She falls in love with a local man, Henry. They marry, begin life together on a property and begin a family. Poverty, excessive summer heat and the Great Depression take their toll on the couple. The fear of yet another pregnancy adds to their difficulties.

The story is about some of the many facets of love: the love of a man and woman; love of f
...more
Rob Olver
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"This Place You Know" is a complex and emotional book about the love of place and the love between people. It is also about the problems that families face. Martha, a classics scholar and teacher from the city, falls in love with an outback farmer, Henry, and they start a life on the land with a small leasehold on the Murrumbidgee river, near Hay in south west New South Wales. Unfortunately the odds are stacked against them, with relentless drought and the Great Depression of the 1930's. They so ...more
Elizabeth Brennan
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
‘At night, we lie in our separate beds and the empty house echoes our breath. The windows rattle and the cedar taps on the tin roof… I shiver and pull the blankets over my head. When Dad was here, I felt safe at night…. Now I hate it and just want the night to end.’

Christina Houen, in her memoir This Place You Know, extends to readers a heartfelt invitation to join her as she shares her early years with her mother, Martha, as they struggle to maintain the dream Martha hung on to preserve Arendal
...more
Elisabeth Hanscombe
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Christina Houen’s memoir, This place You know, is a haunting evocation of two women’s struggles to survive in the Australian ‘outback’ on the plains of Hay in the Western Riverina. The ‘fatal inevitability’ of Martha’s marriage to Henry takes us through a story of two marriages, her own and ultimately that of her daughter, Anne. The book offers a deep and abiding sense of what it is like to live on the land during the mid 1900s. The daily domesticity of life on a farm and Martha’s determined eff
...more
John Ford
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must tell you how much I enjoyed “This Place You know”, and how it touched me, sometimes quite fiercely. It is a broad canvas, from the autobiographical character's mother’s stark but fascinating experiences in Hay, in the Outback of the 1920s, right through to the author's own maturity and the pain that life can deal us.
And in the middle, little Anna, battling to be herself and live her life in ways that made sense to her. Above all, I thought the writing was wonderful; beautifully descripti
...more
Jill
Feb 14, 2020 added it
This was a great read. Christina took me to her place. I am glad she wrote this if she didn't we would never know women who lived in that era which would be a great shame. I loved it. ...more
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'This Place You Know', Christina Houen’s memoir of an Australian childhood in the outback, began its gestation in 1959. Between several major revisions, it lay for long spells in her bottom drawer. In 2017, the story was resurrected when Christina decided to begin with her mother’s first-person narrative (as ‘Martha’).

Martha’s story is an imaginative reconstruction based on handwritten memoirs an
...more

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