Set in the eccentric backwater of Karakarook, New South Wales, this is the story of Douglas Cheeseman, a shy and clumsy engineer who meets Harley Savage, a woman who is known for being rather large and abrupt. Harley Savage is a plain, rawboned woman, a part-time museum curator and quilting expert with three failed marriages and a heart condition. Douglas Cheeseman is a shy, gawky engineer with jug-handle ears, one marriage gone sour, and a crippling lack of physical courage. Seeming to be incompetent was something Douglas did to protect himself, just as having a "dangerous streak" served the same purpose for Harley. Douglas is there to pull down a quaint old bridge and Harley aims to foster heritage. They are clearly on a collision course - but when they meet they are unaware that something unexpected is going to happen. (Source: Trove)
'This study shows how fiction that makes use of textiles as an essential element utilizes synaesthetic writing and synaesthetic metaphor to create an affective link to, and response in, the reader. These links and responses are examined using affect theory from Silvan Tomkins and Brian Massumi and work on synaesthesia by Richard Cytowic, Lawrence Marks, and V.S. Ramachandran, among others. Synaesthetic writing, including synaesthetic metaphors, has been explored in poetry since the 1920s and, more recently, in fiction, but these studies have been general in nature. By narrowing the field of investigation to those novels that specifically employ three types of hand-crafted textiles (quilt-making, knitting and embroidery), the book isolates how these textiles are used in fiction. The combination of synaesthesia, memory, metaphor and, particularly, synaesthetic metaphor in fiction with textiles in the text of the case studies selected, shows how these are used to create affect in readers, enhancing their engagement in the story.
'The work is framed within the context of the history of textile production and the use of textiles in fiction internationally, but concentrates on Australian authors who have used textiles in their writing. The decision to focus on Australian authors was taken in light of the quality and depth of the writing of textile fiction produced in Australia between 1980 and 2005 in the three categories of hand-crafted textiles – quilt-making, knitting and embroidery. The texts chosen for intensive study are: Kate Grenville’s The Idea of Perfection (1999, quilting); Marele Day’s Lambs of God (1997, knitting) and Anne Bartlett’s Knitting (2005, knitting); Jessica Anderson’s Tirra Lirra by the River (1978, embroidery) and Marion Halligan’s Spider Cup (1990, embroidery).' (Publication summary)