Welcome to the colourful world of the White family. It is the early 1930s, the Great Depression, and they have fallen on hard times. Like many others, they have been 'on the road', travelling in search of work, but have now settled in the travellers' camp at Warning Hill, just outside the country town of Tiburon in central New South Wales, living in a hut of their own making.
With an extraordinary cast of memorable characters, Kylie Tennant's first novel explores an Australian country town of the time with a sharp eye for what makes people tick. Whether it be a harridan pub-keeper who can't keep her bargirls in order, an obsessed policeman who concentrates so hard on the letter of law and order that he's constantly undone by simple humanity, a left-leaning parson who loves a good talk a little too much, ladies of means who can't believe it when their charity is rejected, or various shonky shop owners who'd sell their own grandmothers if only they could, no-one escapes Tennant's genially inquiring eye and wry grin.
In laconic, poetic prose of great realistic warmth, Kylie Tennant draws a picture of a time when enormous hardship was the stuff of every day; laughter was a vital response to keep one's sanity. With phenomenal panache and great control of her material, she echoes Dickens in terms of the warmth, wit and understanding with which she investigates all the joys and prejudices of a country town in Australia.
This brilliant novel won the S. H. Prior Memorial Prize for fiction. This edition includes an introduction by the author.