Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bush Studies

As part of my goal to complete the 2013 Aussie Author Challenge, I read Barbara Baynton's Bush Studies. It is a collection of short Australian stories, published in 1902.

In some ways, I think the writing in these short stories is very modern. It is abstract. And in some cases, very hard to follow.
   The stories also deal with abuse of women, and the treatment of women in isolated colonies. It depicts a hard life, and I wonder about Bayton's own existence, and the women she met who influenced her stories.
   "Squeaker's Mater" would be her best story, particularly the beginning, how Baynton uses such short sentences to describe such a strong and capable woman being struck down.
   The "Bush Church" story, I found, held a lot of black humour. Baynton is able to paint a picture of these people in such a short time, and they are very vivid.
   Her ability to portray a scene vividly is doubly true in the short story "The Chosen Vessel", where an isolated woman's terror is depicted and then realised!
   I think I'll have to read these short stories again, so that I fully understand them, because I think I missed the gist of a couple of them. They are not easy to read, but I think I admire Baynton a lot.

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