Jennifer (JC-S)'s Reviews > Swimming With The Jellyfish

Swimming With The Jellyfish by Vicki Hastrich
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really liked it
bookshelves: australian-womens-writers-challenge

‘Do you ever go into the kitchen, purposefully because you’re busy, and open a cupboard door and suddenly you’re lost?’

This novel is set in a small Australian coastal town called Pocket Head. Pocket Head could be the kind of Australian coastal town where many of us have spent a summer holiday. We connect, fleetingly, with the locals to learn about fishing, swimming and shopping but we rarely get to know them. Lal, our narrator, knows everyone in Pocket Head, and we see each of them through her eyes. Lal herself is still coming to terms with the disappearance of her mother twenty years earlier, and is still searching answers, for some explanation for why her mother left and where she went.

‘What I know is something is better than nothing. When you grow up you have to face facts.’

This is a wonderful novel: full of idiosyncratic characters who somehow fit in perfectly in this small community. From Question Mark Man to the Vampire Bride (the local librarian), each of them reminds me of someone I might have known once, or met somewhere during my life. Lal’s husband Davey is larger than life, Bim Audette, the powerful and wealthy local hero, has an interest in local history, while his wife Barbara escapes to the city for window-shopping. Lal is observant and restless. Lal is sure that somewhere in Pocket Head are the answers she’s looking for. If she looks hard enough, and asks the right questions, she’s sure that the answers are there somewhere. Will she find them?

This is Ms Hastrich’s first novel (published in 2001) and I’m glad I read it. While Lal interested me, it was her descriptions of life in Pocket Head, her narration of both the mundane and the curious which held my attention.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Reading Progress

January 2, 2016 – Started Reading
January 2, 2016 – Shelved
January 2, 2016 – Shelved as: australian-womens-writers-challenge
January 7, 2016 – Finished Reading

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