This charming book is narrated by a housebound galah (a pink and grey parrot). Galahs are famous for their playful, garrulous natures. It’s set in the northwest coast of West Australia where there is a dish that helps track NASA space missions. It’s a conceit of the book that the narrator, Lucky, can tune into the dish’s transmissions.
Slipping easily backwards and forwards in time, we track various lives. There’s Lizzie, a kind Aboriginal woman who gives Lucky tea, biscuits and books to shred (galahs need activities). There’s tech head Evan Johnson, who works at the dish, his wife Linda, and their daughters. There’s the Kelly family and their five daughters who were less sympathetic owners of Lucky before Lizzie. They’re ordinary people in a remote community, and a lot can happen to ordinary folks.
The flavour of the life and times is beautifully conveyed. Author Tracy Sorensen has a great feel for landscape ... and weather. This is cyclone country, which can be like paradise one day and scary the next. So many scenes ring resoundingly right: the tracker wives bemoaning their cultureless fate; the community gathering round TVs to watch the first moon landing; Mr Kelly secretly writing an infatuated letter to a right wing female politician; the entomologist/ornithologist who loves Linda but not in THAT way; Mrs Kelly going home in tears (and minus a pressure cooker) when her condolences are rebuffed. The technical stuff to do with the tracking station is fascinating too. Highly recommended.
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