A River Town Author:Thomas Keneally With 21 novels to his name, including Schindler's List (1982), internationally acclaimed Australian writer Keneally navigates the fictional universe with consummate ease. His own family history figures in this intricate tale of small-town life in New South Wales at the end of the nineteenth century. — Keneally's exquisitely moral and indi... more »vidualistic narrator, Tim Shea, is eager to cast off the restrictive social mores of his native Ireland but is also leery of the rough-and-tumble ethos of his frontier home. A barely solvent shopkeeper, his philosophical and spiritual balancing act is put to the test in a series of tragic events. First, when no one can, or will, identify a young woman who died trying to terminate a pregnancy, the police -- in a grisly act of expedience that horrifies Tim -- decapitate her and cart her head from town to town.
Then, another accidental death of a stranger brings Lucy, an eerily self-possessed young girl, into his life just when his marvelously imperturbable wife, Kitty, is quarantined during a plague scare. Amid all these distressing trials and tribulations, Tim is also subject to vicious gossip, blatant harassment, a soul-searing conflict over his friendship with a Muslim herbalist, and serious financial woes. His river town, a tiny huddle in a vast and mysterious land, is rife with petty tyrants and their worthless taboos, but Tim holds his own, able to simultaneously open and steel his heart. Rich in context and psychologically elegant, this is a beautifully rendered tale that gains potency in reflection.« less
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