'On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him.
'Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.
'Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life - to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.' (From the publisher's website.)
'This article argues that, since 2004 or so, a new kind of Australian historical novel has emerged among practitioners of literary fiction, one concerned with the mid-twentieth century. This new historical fiction has been characterized by an aesthetic stringency and self-consciousness. Though Steven Carroll and Ashley Hay will be the principal twenty-first-century writers examined, reference will also be made to several other writers including Carrie Tiffany, Charlotte Wood, Sofie Laguna, and to the later work of Peter Carey. In all these contemporary books, technology plays a major role in defining the twentieth century as seen historically.' (Publication abstract)