Book - 1998
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On a property in western New South Wales, a man named Holland lives with his daughter, Ellen. Over the years, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, he plants hundreds of different eucalyptus trees. When Ellen is nineteen, Holland announces his decision: she may only marry the man who can correctly name the species of each & every gum tree on his property. Suitors emerge from all corners, including the straight-backed Mr. Cave, a world expert on these famous Australian trees. But one day, walking down by the river, where silver light slants into the motionless trunks, Ellen chances on a strange young man resting under the Coolibah tree. In the days that followed, he tells her dozens of stories - set in cities, deserts, & faraway countries. Eucalyptus is at once a modern fairy tale & a marvelously touching love story, played out against the spearing light & broken shadows of Australia - its land, its history, its people. The author's cunning, intricate, & mesmerizing narrative bristles with spiky truths & unexpected wisdom about art, feminine beauty, landscape, & language. More, it eloquently affirms the seductive power of storytelling itself.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus Giroux, c1998
ISBN: 9780374148577


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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 06, 2014

The language of forests, the naming of Eucalyptus, the stepping stones of falling in love, all meld together in an Australian original. Murray Bail has written an exquisite novel, woven into tapestries of melancholy tales that lead to an unexpected but incredibly welcome ending.

May 02, 2014

A very quirky modern fairy tale, based in Australia but wandering all over the world.. I was intrigued to read it when I heard an interview with Sir Jonathan Mills, the Director of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is working on an opera based on Murray Bail's book.The outcome should be interesting.The stories were.Reminiscent of Scheherazade.

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