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Limberlost

por Robbie Arnott

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10910247,547 (3.97)7
In the heat of a long summer Ned hunts rabbits in a river valley, hoping the pelts will earn him enough money to buy a small boat. His two brothers are away at war, their whereabouts unknown. His father and older sister struggle to hold things together on the family orchard, Limberlost. Desperate to ignore it all--to avoid the future rushing towards him--Ned dreams of open water. As his story unfolds over the following decades, we see how Ned's choices that summer come to shape the course of his life, the fate of his family and the future of the valley, with its seasons of death and rebirth. The third novel by the award-winning author of Flamesand The Rain Heron, Limberlostis an extraordinary chronicle of life and land: of carnage and kindness, blood ties and love.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
A gentle story, I enjoyed and well written. Hard to describe. A quiet determine sole looking at his life with his family in Tasmania. ( )
  SteveMcI | Nov 18, 2023 |
This book popped up in several lists where I had googled novels based on trees and I should say that although there is an orchard, trees are not major theme in this book. It is about fathers and sons, family and the place in Tasmania with trees and wood there in the background, stretching into the foreground now and then through the story.

The story takes place over one summer holiday with Ned, the youngest child, out shooting rabbits for their pelts which he then sells. However, the story moves backwards and forwards in time and so although the emphasis is on his childhood at the start, we are shown aspects of his whole life story. What Ned wants most it seems, during that long summer, is a boat to get out onto the river, drawn by a memory from when he was five years old and his father took Ned and his brothers out on to the river to see that there was no mad whale out - there were stories about this mad whale from the fishermen. There was a whale and her calf.

Eventually, Ned finds a boat and buys it, only to discover that it is made from Huon pine and has a smell that is released when he cleans the paint off it. This is such a rare wood that people come from far and wide to see it and eventually someone offers to buy it off him.

All through this summer, there is something weighty going on - the way his father stares into space, the look he sees on his sister's face after she reads a letter. Its a distracting tension and Ned doesn't really understand it until he overhears a conversation about the farm not surviving and needing to be sold. He does sell his boat and offers the money to his father but of course, it isn't enough.

Also running through the book is nature, vicious and raw. There is the detail of shooting the rabbits and then the quoll, a tree climbing, den loving marsupial that he traps which has been trying to get into the chicken house. They love eggs. It was badly damaged and so vicious when he tried to release it so he kept it in a box in a shed, took it to the vet and tried to help it get better, only for it to die when it was near to release time. (There's something significant in this event but I am not quite sure what.)

The quoll followed him for years, its jaw gaping through his mind whenever he found terror and fury in the same place.
p31

I think one of the themes of the book is the effect that nature had on Ned as he grew up and how it shaped him. Should he kill the quoll or care for it? He chose caring.

The writing is fantastic and especially powerful at the end when his brother comes back from war. This was what all the tension was based around during that summer. His brother was skin and bone but when he smiled at Ned

. . . Ned felt a swelling, a ripping expansion, a hugeness that rang through him for the length of his life, a feeling that was sometimes rivalled but never quite matched.
p225

Arnott then goes on to list all the occasions when you think the feeling might have been matched but wasn't. It was bigger than all the other big feelings he had experienced.

There are many other story lines in this book - his marriage and death of his wife, the jobs he undertook as a young man, the challenge of his daughters to consider First Nation people and the land and river. It's a lot in a book of 226 pages and not all of it worked. The name of his wife was withheld until she died and I am not sure why. I really don't understand the importance of the mad whale on Ned or the story - it is referred to often and Ned wonders whether he has remembered the event correctly. In the same way that the quoll was released and died, the new owner of the Houn pine boat was killed transporting it home. Why? I was left with more questions than answers. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | Nov 5, 2023 |
Superb! ( )
  JennyPocknall | Oct 19, 2023 |
10/10
  LizMain | Aug 1, 2023 |
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Robbie Arnott. I picked up Limberlost with specific expectations based on his previous work and while they were not fully met, I was enchanted with this nonetheless.

Limberlost is a simple coming-of-age story. We follow a teenaged Ned through a transformative summer on the family orchard. While his older brothers are away in the war, Ned is left home with his hard-working, stoic father and his equally staid older sister. He spends his days working on the orchard and trapping and hunting rabbits. He sells their pelts in town ostensibly to help the soldiers but secretly to raise money to buy himself a small boat which will give him a certain freedom and independence.

Ned is a quiet, serious young man who has a deep sense of connection to his environment. Limberlost, the name of the family orchard, is located in a river valley in Tasmania and Ned is well acquainted with the flora and fauna of his home. This relationship between man and nature is at the core of all of Arnott's writing and while it is certainly more subtle in this novel, it is still present.

Throughout the novel, Arnott flashes back and forwards in time giving us a sense of what inspires Ned and how this summer has shaped him into a man. While we witness Ned mature and evolve, we are also given insight into the changing landscape of Tasmania through the use and abuse of man.

This is the third novel I've read by Robbie Arnott and Limberlost is, by far, the most straightforward. The reasons that my expectations weren't met had nothing to do with being let down by the story or the characters, it was that I fell in love with his previous two books (The Rain Heron and Flames) due to the elements of magical realism that were stitched throughout. They felt at once sumptuous and ethereal. Limberlost has the same moments of stunning beauty but feels far more grounded a story.

Although I was far more smitten with Arnott's previous two books, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this novel to anyone. It's a very sweet, heartfelt, and simple story. ( )
  Jess.Stetson | Apr 4, 2023 |
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In the economy of Nature nothing is ever lost.
- Gene Stratton-Porter
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For my family
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It was believed a whale had gone mad at the mouth of the river.
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In the heat of a long summer Ned hunts rabbits in a river valley, hoping the pelts will earn him enough money to buy a small boat. His two brothers are away at war, their whereabouts unknown. His father and older sister struggle to hold things together on the family orchard, Limberlost. Desperate to ignore it all--to avoid the future rushing towards him--Ned dreams of open water. As his story unfolds over the following decades, we see how Ned's choices that summer come to shape the course of his life, the fate of his family and the future of the valley, with its seasons of death and rebirth. The third novel by the award-winning author of Flamesand The Rain Heron, Limberlostis an extraordinary chronicle of life and land: of carnage and kindness, blood ties and love.

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