The Road from Coorain
By Jill Ker Conway
This book is a bit tricky, because the author aims to tell one story: growing up in Australia, from a solitary sheepfarm in the grasslands to moving into the metropolitan world and becoming an academic. But it’s true story is not discovered until the end, in a rather rushed off way: what it is like to grow up the lone girl in a family in which the mother descends into an alcoholic, depressive darkness; a world in which feelings and emotions are to be hidden and people are rewarded from true grit.
On page 151, this theme becomes very clear: “How could I tell this woman who lived for me that I did not want to live for her?”
The first part is rather long with barely any dialogue to break it up. Once Jill leaves the farm, the storytelling, visuals and story pick up. For example, on page 168 she discovers that “university study was about learning and reflection, not the cramming of texts and information. Now I had a purpose in my life.”
I also like this insight, on page 227: “Every intellectual woman wants to be loved for her whole self, to found attractive for minds as well as body…”
Though insightful, this is not a quick read or something one reads for enjoyment.