Any trauma that I may have suffered does not compare to that suffered by those directly affected, and I understand that Adrian Hyland was a local, I was only living a few kilometres up the road at the time of the fires, near Broadford. I was awake all that night, watching the CFA website. Little did I know how useless that exercise was, until I read this novel.
Although written as a novel, it is a true account from the point of view of various survivors.
Obviously, the book is very emotional and confronting. But, Adrian Hyland has balanced the writing very well. He provides a lot of factual slabs of information, giving you a well-timed break from the pace of the story. He has researched weather, fire, Australian flora, and the history of fire in our country.
This novel also asks a lot of questions, raised by Adrian Hyland. He tries to balance anger and the laying of blame very well. He asks relevant questions. He is concerned about the increased likelihood of a fire storm in years to come, and he encourages us to take responsibility in our role in creating the conditions for the same. Rightly, he encourages us to stop trying to find an individual or corporation to blame, but instead understand the multiple factors that brought about this disaster and trying to find a way to prevent another fire storm from taking so many lives.
All people living in Australia should read this book, particularly those living in southern New South Wales and Victoria.