Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
by Monique Roffey.
Monique Roffey’s second novel is set against the fertile and dynamic backdrop of the West Indian island of Trinidad. It is a story of political unrest and personal isolation. Evidently, Roffey’s birthplace is today a significant influence on her work and the novel, like its setting, is humming with feminine breath and life.
Cleverly, the narrative is broken in two halves which take the reader from present to past in a couple’s experiences as expatriates, each with a very different set of expectations and attitudes. George and Sabine are poles apart. He is completely comfortable being an outsider in this strange groaning land, while Sabine yearns to understand the people and challenge the status quo. Both halves of the book work well independently as the characterisation is both powerful and honest. The relationship between Sabine and George is fraught with unspoken bitterness and feelings of resentment and loss. Yet, the power of their shared experiences is too strong and intoxicating for any real separation to take place. It is a husband and wife carved into the undulating hills of painfully beautiful prose.
Roffey’s great strength is her incredible ability to bring the island to life. The personification of the hill behind George and Sabine’s home is so convincing it is not at all strange that Sabine speaks to the mighty land before her.
Sabine drifted out onto the grass, staring up at the hill above the house, the hip of the green woman, a woman lying on her side, never any doubt about that. A woman trapped in the mud, half sculpted from the sticky oil-clogged bedrock, half made. She was also stuck. Half out, half in…You, Sabine addressed the hill. All you do is watch. That’s all you’ve ever done. Sit back and observe the disaster going on.
Sabine’s observation of the hill in the shape of a trapped woman is evocative of her own feelings of isolation and disappointment with her lot. As a young bride in the 1950s, her love for George and the reassurance of his three year contract with Forbes-Mason to the West Indies saw Sabine wheeling her green bicycle off the Cavina frightened and unsure.
A recent long weekend spent in beautiful Angourie in northern New South Wales highlighted that style can be affordable.
I've always loved the look of the Eames chair with the Eiffel base combined with a solid timber table. While these Ikea chairs are not as stylish in design their clean fresh appeal in a high traffic holiday home ensures a classic look that is not too precious.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Choosing which course to do is the tricky bit. The Interior Design Institute seems to offer a very professional and sleek online course, while there is a new Design School in Varsity Lakes offering short courses on campus on Saturdays. The contact with real people does appeal to me, but I would have to wait until next year before I could start that, whereas the online course I could start anytime and pace myself.
The commitment of attending each week is probably a good thing for me as I sometimes have a tendency to start things with great gusto and then lose momentum somewhere around teh halfway point. Adam thinks the on campus course is the way to go and is fully supportive of the idea. So I guess next year I will embark on the course and in the mean time continue to read and read and read!... and sometimes write!