Wednesday, August 8, 2012

At the Swamp's Edge by Jo Fisher

Cover illustration by Roger Boreham
First published in 1993, the book hasn't really dated as it is set in 1937, painting a picture of the pre-war years and the hardships associated with farming. Annie Miller's family have moved from Sydney to the country, to a small town called Walchep where they are running a dairy farm. But it hasn't quite worked out how it was planned, Mum's cranky most of the time and Annie feels heavily criticized in all that she attempts around the house. Her dad is exhausted  despite the help given by Annie's older brother Ted. It's a high maintenance farm with a run-down house and everything constantly breaking down around the farm. Things aren't much better at school with Annie and her two brothers finding the lessons a walk over. But, there was the swamp, a great place to explore and forget about the hardships of home. It was a time when all clothes were darned and not thrown away, cow pats were used as a mosquito repellent and the house is heated by a fuel stove. The novel is an interesting step back in time, a taste of family life in the Australian country in the 1930's.

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