Author(s): Garry Disher
Out in that country the sun smeared the sky and nothing ever altered, except that one day a scrap man came by ...HER name is scarcely known or remembered. All in all, she is worth less than the nine shillings and sixpence counted into her father's hand. She bides her time. She does her work. Way back in the corner of her mind is a thought she is almost too frightened to shine a light on: one day she will run away. A dark and unsettling tale from the turn of the twentieth century by a master of Australian literature.
Set in rural Victoria between 1909 and 1919, “Her" tells the story of a young girl sold to a travelling scrap man for nine shillings and sixpence. Hitherto known as You, she joins Wife and Big Girl as a member of the scrap man’s “family”. You’s existence is bleak. She lives in desperate poverty, and in constant fear of a beating, or worse, at the hands of the scrap man. Disher’s story takes place amidst the outbreak of war and, later, the ravages of the influenza pandemic. Yet, just as these events were mostly tangential to You, they are mostly tangential to Disher’s book. "Her" is the story of You and her struggle to withstand, and finally, overcome, the presence of the scrap man. It’s brilliantly told, but it’s dark and disquieting.
Reviewed by Mathew
GARRY DISHER grew up on a wheat and wool farm in South Australia. He has an MA in Australian History and has lived, worked and travelled in England, Italy, Israel, the USA and southern Africa. In 1978 he was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University, where he wrote his first collection of short stories. Garry worked as a writing lecturer between the years 1980 and 1988, before becoming a full-time writer. He has published over fifty books, including short story collections, literary novels, writers' handbooks and award-winning crime thrillers and children's titles.