Rifling Paradise

By

Charles Redbourne, middle-aged dilettante, leaves his English country estate in disgrace after his callous treatment of a discarded male love interest drives the young man to suicide. Redbourne begs travelling money from his proverbial rich uncle and seeks his fortune in Australia, where he dreams of making his mark as a naturalist. Upon his arrival in the lush new world, he finds himself enchanted by his host’s strong-willed and artistic daughter, Nell. Yet when the girl reveals to him that she is suffering heinous abuse, he fails to protect her, embarking instead on a wilderness expedition on which he hopes to discover a new species of bird. Here the novel enters territory redolent of Picnic at Hanging Rock and Heart of Darkness, depicting European intruders barging into a savage paradise that serves as the crucible, mercilessly stripping away all pretence of upper class sophistication and ‘civilisation,’ until the characters are utterly exposed and defenseless. His traveling companion, reduced to his most bestial nature, maltreats their half-Aboriginal child-porter. Again Redbourne fails to protect the victim. Nemesis comes in the form of brutal disaster, leaving Redbourne feeling quite sorry for himself.

The writing is hypnotic and lyrical in places, yet for me, it was not enough to redeem a book with such a selfish, unappealing protagonist.

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Publisher

Published

Genre
,

Period

Century

Price
(UK) £12.99

ISBN
(UK) 0340822945

Format
Hardback

Pages
322

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