'Friendship is a slippery notion. We lose friends as we change and our friends don't, or as we form other alliances, or as we betray our friends or are ourselves betrayed ...
'Alice, Hartley, Mitsy and Jamie are kids growing up in Broome before the Second World War. Their lives, although very different, are bound by friendship. Hartley and Alice Penrose are the children of an uneducated pearling master and a cultivated, disgruntled mother. Mitsy Sennosuke is Japanese, the daughter of Zeke, a diver working for Hartley and Alice's father, and Sadako, who makes soy sauce in a tin shed factory. Jamie Kilian is the son of a local magistrate, recently moved north from the city. Together, they unconsciously cross the boundaries of class and race, as they swim, joke and watch films in the cinema in Sheba Lane.
'But these happy, untroubled times end when lives are lost in a terrible cyclone, Alice falls for a wealthy cattleman pilot, a young woman is assaulted, and Hartley and Jamie compete for the love of Mitsy. The Second World War brings further strain into their lives. The four friends are no longer children but old enough to fight for their country. As Japanese bombs begin to fall like silver rain on northern Australia, loyalties are divided and friendships take on an altogether different form …
'This thrilling and beautifully written new novel from Garry Disher evokes an era of Australia caught up in the events of war and its effects on people torn apart from all they know and hold dear in childhood.' (Source: Publisher's website)
Unit Suitable For AC: Year 9 (NSW Stage 5)
Duration Four to five weeks.
Australian history, coming of age, family, friendship, History, identity, love, multiculturalism, racism, sex, war
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Intercultural understanding, Literacy, Personal and social
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
'A generation living in peacetime is inclined to devalue the identity and place of soldiers. In Australia, active soldiers have been maligned as meddlesome interlopers in foreign affairs (if they are our soldiers) or combatant terrorists (if they are not). In his book Secret Men’s Business (1998), John Marsden wrote that going to war used to be seen as a marker of adulthood. We forget that war was once how individual personality and collective character was formed. We forget that many of our compatriots came here because of war, that there are former child soldiers living in Australia, and that literature and the armed forces didn’t always occupy such opposing worlds.' (Introduction)
'Insight Text Guides – The Divine Wind is designed to help secondary English students understand and analyse the text. This comprehensive study guide to Garry Disher's novel contains detailed character and chapter analysis and explores genre, structure, themes and language. Essay questions and sample answers help to prepare students for creating written responses to the text.' (Publisher's blurb)