In September 1957, Ilona Talivaldis and her daughter Zidra travel to the town of Jingera in coastal New South Wales to start a new life. Ilona, a concentration camp survivor from Latvia, has recently been widowed and plans to teach piano and hopes to find a peace which has so far eluded her. While the story starts with Ilona and Zidra, and is mainly focussed on them, it encompasses many of the people living in and around Jingera.
I enjoyed this novel, and I especially liked the conclusion with its promise of brighter futures for a number of the characters. Two of the themes that caught my attention were dispossession and difference. In a number of ways, the experiences of Ilona and Zidra were similar to those of the indigenous girl Lorna Hunter and her family. Except, ironically, that in the Australia of the 1950s, Ilona and Zidra had a better chance of `fitting in'. On reading the novel, though, it became very clear that there are different degrees of difference and acceptance in Jingera.
Yet while I liked the conclusion, I was not totally satisfied with the ending. On one hand, it was too neat, while on the other hand I wanted more.
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: BANTAM AUSTRALIA ORIGINAL; 1 edition (4 January 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1864711256
- ISBN-13: 978-1864711257
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 159 g
- Customer Reviews: 2 customer reviews