Have you ever read a book that needs space after reading? You can’t get the book out of your head. You need time and space to mull over the story. Nothing satisfies, and you can’t move on to your next read. I know the signs when this happens to me. I become preoccupied with the story, with the characters, and with the insights gained. I am not ready to let go of all that I have read. This can go on for days. I can’t settle to any new read. I have just finished a book that has stimulated this state of mind.
Wildlife is a young adult novel, by Australian writer Fiona Wood that was initially recommended to me by two colleagues who are both avid and passionate readers. I listen when they make suggestions. Luckily for me they didn’t say too much about it. On the cover was another recommendation. This was from Melina Marchetta, a favourite author of mine. She describes it as a beautifully crafted novel that she couldn’t get out of her head.
I anticipated a good book. I didn’t expect a gem.
The opening lines immediately set the scene and quickly capture the mood of the story …
In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar’s outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard.
And I kissed Ben Capaldi.
I was hooked.
I’m not going to write a review of Wildlife as I don’t want to spoil the magic. Suffice to say, this story is about friendship, love, betrayal, and not fitting in. It is centred around learning to be true to yourself. It is well-crafted, insightful, captivating, dark, and at times very funny. The underlying tensions between the characters enhance the story and engage me as a reader. Look out for the interaction between Lou and her camp counsellor and the “say /don’t say” conversation. This is a clever and astute piece of writing.
Even though I have finished Wildlife, I can’t get it out of my head. It has been a thought provoking read. I haven’t been able to pick up another book for days. I keep thinking about the depth to the story, the characters and their quirky traits, and parts of the book still roll around in my head. I am not ready to let go. This is a book that just needs space.
The building of the King Edward Barracks, which are to replace the old drillshed destroyed by fire, has now fairly commenced. The drillshed will consist of a large arched building (of one span with no posts) 120 ft wide, 300 ft long and 40 ft high. Twenty-one iron girders, each six tons, will be used in the construction, and our picture shows several of them on the ground ready to be erected. In addition to the drillshed there will be a Mobilisation Store, built in brick. The store will be 128 ft long and 30 ft wide and will consist of two storeys; the contract price for the whole being £7500. The contractors and architects are Messrs Luttrell Bros of Christchurch and they expect to establish a colonial record in the matter of the building, by completing the contract by the first week in August.
This photograph shows the army barracks under construction in 1905. Sidney Luttrell (1872-1932), who is pictured in the right foreground with his brother Alfred on the left, designed 21 latticed, curved steel girders to span the 36.5m width as economically as possible and to support the curved, corrugated iron roof. The girders, constructed by Scott Brothers, each weighed six tonnes. Twenty-five working days after it was begun the building was complete and opened on 26 July 1905.
It was used for drilling soldiers and later for civic functions and social occasions until the army withdrew in 1993 and the site was purchased by Ngai Tahu. The building was transported to Hornby where it was re-erected as a distribution warehouse in 2000 (only about three quarters of it was reused ).