Fiona Hindmarsh, a successful middle-aged economist, likes to live her life her way.
Beginning the love-of-her-life affair with the gorgeous Laine Macready, a girl who wears a Hardie Aimes shirt like no one else can, she is interrupted by a phone call. Her sister, Gillian, brings her the news that their mother, Muriel, had a heart attack at the top of a plum tree she was pruning and died. Irritably Fi sets off on a night-time drive home to help Gillian organise the funeral.
What precisely is home for Fi? Where her mother lived in Northern New South Wales, among the tea-drinking relatives who, as Gillian reminds her, made Fi what she is today? Is home the girl of the moment who happens to make her heart miss a beat? Or is home merely one of the houses Fi has bought in Australia or leased in Bali?
Fi is contrary, her head and her heart responding to different music. And as a child, Fi was sensitive to the ghostly spirits of the Bundjalung who inhabited the land the Hindmarshes and the Darks took over for dairy farms. How does she reconcile the mutterings and wailings and chantings she hears in her heart with the classic cinema sound booming in her head and the skin-smarting indignity of betrayal?
A novel combining a love story with a perspective on the farmers’ settlement history of the Far North Coast of New South Wales, that grew with new grass on old rainforest soil.
March 2003, 232 pp
Paperback, 216 x 138 mm
ISBN 0 9578735 8 1
Literary fiction, 1st edition
RRP $aud 22-95
Carolyn van Langenberg grew up in the rural hinterland of the Far North Coast of New South Wales. She has travelled in Southeast Asia and Europe. Carolyn’s books reflect her background in Australian and English literature, Asian history and creative writing. She lives with her husband in the Blue Mountains.
The fish lips trilogy, set in Malaysia and Australia from the 1940s to the 21st century, looks at three angles on love: heterosexual, homosexual and tortured.
In fish lips, Rose, Li-tsieng’s paramour, becomes a ghost when the Japanese bombed Penang in 1941. Was she ever real?
Fiona Hindmarsh in The Teetotaller’s Wake longs to be back with her new girlfriend during the family ceremonies that follow her mother’s death.
In Blue Moon, urban conservationist Badul Mukhapadai tries to save Penang, Malaysia, from developers and falls in love with the clean air of Byron Bay, Australia, where he consummates his passion for the prickly historian, Gillian Hindmarsh.
The Fish Lips Trilogy… by Carolyn van Langenberg
Fish Lips 2001 $aud22.95 ISBN: 0 95858059 6
The Teetotaller’s Wake 2003 $aud22.95 ISBN: 0 95787358 1
Blue Moon 2004$aud27.95ISBN: 1 92078710 0