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The Silent Kookaburra Paperback – January 4, 2017
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Compelling psychological drama that delves into the dark heart of family secrets. Chris Curran, author of Mindsight. A real page-turner with fabulously engaging characters and a gripping plot, the outcome of which I did not guess before the final revelation. Claire Whatley, reader. An amazing domestic thriller with a gripping storyline, vivid dialogue, a palpable sense of place and time, and a compelling cast of characters that I can't get out of my head. Carol Cooper, Contemporary Women's Fiction author. I have to say this was one of the most compelling reads I have read. Carol Ravensdale, reader. Liza Perrat brings her sureness of touch, vivid characterisation and ability to convey a strong sense of time and place to this story set in 1970s Australia. Vanessa Couchman, author of The House at Zaronza.
About the Author
Liza grew up in Australia, working as a general nurse and midwife. She has now been living in France for over twenty years, where she works as a part-time medical translator and a novelist. She is the author of the historical The Bone Angel series. The first, Spirit of Lost Angels is set in 18th century revolutionary France. The second, Wolfsangel is set during the WW2 Nazi Occupation and the French Resistance, and the third novel – Blood Rose Angel –– is set during the 14th century Black Plague years. Her latest novel, The Silent Kookaburra, is a psychological suspense, set in 1970s Australia. Liza is a co-founder and member of the writers’ collective Triskele Books. Liza reviews books for Bookmuse.
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The Silent Kookaburra is the fourth novel by Australian-born author, Liza Perrat. It’s the middle of summer, January 1972, and ten-year-old Tanya Randall is dying to go to the beach. Mum won’t take her because, with baby Shelley crying all the time with colic, she’s worn out. And more and more, after work, Dad heads to the pub.
The girls at school are always taunting her about her weight, but she does, at least, have one good friend, Angela, although Tanya’s ever-cranky Nana Purvis doesn’t approve: she doesn’t like “them Eyeties”. Then there’s Uncle Blackie: he’s told her to keep their meet-ups secret, because Nana Purvis would have a pink fit if she knew; he brings her gifts and tells her she could be a model…. But then the unthinkable happens, and everything gets much, much worse.
Perrat give the reader with a wholly believable plot; her characters are easily recognisable to those familiar with the era; their dialogue, too, is credible, and often supports the common mindset of the time. Perrat’s marvellous descriptive prose establishes her story in coastal Australia with an authenticity that is, no doubt, drawn from personal experience, and makes the heat of the Aussie summer is palpable and the birdsong audible.
She firmly roots it in the early seventies with mentions of certain 70’s Aussie icons, be they lollies, bikkies, everyday meals, school milk, TV shows, remedies for colic, items of furniture or leisure activities; most are guaranteed to be a nostalgia trip for readers of a certain vintage.
The pace is quite in keeping with that of an Aussie summer, but picks up for the dramatic climax. While Nana Purvis may be an irritant voice, her comments, her malapropisms and her strong opinions do provide lighter moments. Tanya’s voice emerges clear and genuine: the confusion and conflicting emotions that plague the adolescent are expertly conveyed.
Perrat touches on many issues: paedophiles and how they groom their prey, the devastating effects of PTSD, teen pregnancy and forced adoption, depression and suicide. Murder, OCD, drink-driving, adultery, xenophobia, guilt and family secrets also feature. This is a gripping and powerful read that will have a much wider appeal than just Wollongong locals and Aussies living in the seventies. Recommended!
With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.