Before real success, Douglas Kennedy published that kind novel, easy to read. Relaxed style. Characters create special ambiance. Absolutely improbably story places reader in new surrounding.
Nick is an american citizen, aproximately thirty years old, without any sentimental engagement. Journalist, he works quietly in a little local newspaper. Life is not beautiful for him. One day he finds an australian map. So, he choices a place to chance and he decides to go to that place (he don’t must to do anyrhing else). Suddenly, Nick is fascinated by that elsewhere at the other side of the earth where he never go.
That place at the extreme australian North call Darwin. A quasi-desert place where he doesn’t stay. He goes to the South direction, with a VW combi which he buy with all he sell before going out of America. He travel through a desert. Important heat. During a halt in a village, a girl look at him. She was looking for a car to go to the other direction. Finding Nick, she decides to go with him in his direction. Angie has a physical appearence of passionate handball player.She sets her heart on Nick. For him, it’s better than nobody. Angie leaves no initiative to Nick. But she wants a serious love story. Nick is the good guy for her.
The couple multiplies the hot embraces and go to South. Nick wants to escape (usual tendance for him) but he don’t know how to do it. Angie feels it. She takes a share : she « accept » to stay with Nick. It’s a misunderstanding, but she agrees that and Nick don’t say anything. So, it’s OK. Obviously, the action run away, inevitable and particularly ugly. Angie give sleeping drug to Nick. So, he goes to her country with her : a little village (Wollanup) lost in the outback. Officialy, Wolanup doesn’t exists ! After an accident in the local mine, inhabitants were rehoused in some other places. Wollanup will be empty. Since, Wollanup is a ghost-village. But, 4 ancient inhabitant families stay place in Wollanup. Theses families organise life in Wollanup. A discreet activity give their necessary subsistance for life. Since a long time ago, they are living in quasi autarcy.
For the 4 families, the real and only problem is teenagers pushes of hormons. They risks to bring abnormal babies. So, the 4 oldests men decide to bring liberty at every person at the age of eighteen. In a few weeks, the mission is to find a weded who will live in Wollanup’s community. That’s why Angie choised Nick. Against his wihshes, he stay in Wollanup, with that alarming community. Rules are establised. Life is well organised. How escape ?
Douglas Kennedy wrote a very physical story. Reader feels heat very well. Reader feels distances from village to village. Great sensation of solitude. Reader belive to that continental ambiance. Inhabitants are beer-drinking. Logical, with a so great heat. Thurst is important. In that desert, inhabitants recognize areas. Strangers don’t see anything. Yet, life is here. Kangaroos for example. A lot of kangaroos. Australian people say just « roos ».
One of the favorite Douglas Kennedy’s themes takes place in that novel. Theme of a man looking to a second chance in life. Inevitably, after a satsfying beginning, troubles come raining. Fortunately, Nick is not a passive traveller. His australian nightmare allows him to know himself better. Finally, he better knows exactly what he wants during his life. In Wollanup, he meets Krystal, sister’s Angie. Miraculous, Krystal seems a civilized person. More better than other members of the community ! Is that an opportunity ???