The Burial

Written by Courtney Collins
Review by Edward James

This is a strange book, not least because the narrator is a newborn baby who dies in the first chapter. This is Magical Realism meets Australia, and what better place than the weird unreal reality of the Outback? In contrast the prose is brutally realistic, short laconic sentences reflecting the speech rhythms of Australian English. The story is based on the career of Jessie Hickman, the ‘lady bushranger’, in the 1920s. Having killed her abusive husband, she flees to the Blue Mountains pursued by the law, her lover and assorted bounty hunters. The hectic chase, through wild landscapes and extraordinary encounters, gathers momentum through the book to crash to a climax on the last page. A fine debut novel.