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Reviews

What We Are Reading: November 2021

The plot of the Woman of the Inner Sea may strike one as interesting for a children’s book: An Australian woman leaves Sydney incognito for the interior and makes friends with a kangaroo and an emu. But Thomas Keneally’s novel is for adults and contains a complex structure, a rich cast of characters, and nuanced probing of serious matters.

Keneally is widely admired as the author of Schindler’s Ark (1982), the basis for the prize-winning film Schindler’s List. His depiction of Australia, both authentic and exotic, vibrates with devotion to his homeland and its people. The settings—the Sydney suburbs and seacoast, a railway hotel, the outback, a flooded landscape in an ancient seabed—are appealing by both their distance and time lag. His characters include an amiable priest known for drink and gambling, who is as memorable as Graham Greene’s clergyman in The Power and the Glory, though more attractive.

To Keneally’s strong renderings of places and people is added his particular...

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