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The Fine Colour of Rust Set in the Australian bush, a wryly funny, beautifully observed novel about friendship, motherhood, love, and the importance of fighting for things that matterA coverLoretta Boskovic never dreamed she would end up a single mother with two kids in a dusty Australian country town She never imagined she d have to campaign to save the local primary school She certainly had no idea her best friend would turn out to be the crusty old junk man All in all, she s starting to wonder if she took a wrong turn somewhere If only she could drop the kids at the orphanage and start over But now, thanks to her protest letters, the education minister is coming to Gunapan, and she has to convince him to change his mind about the school closure And as if facing down the government isn t enough, it soon becomes clear that the school isn t the only local spot in trouble In the drought stricken bushland on the outskirts of town, a luxury resort development is about to siphon off a newly discovered springwater supply No one seems to know anything, no one seems to careWith a dream lover on a Harley unlikely to appear to save the day, Loretta needs to stir the citizens of Gunapan to action She may be short of money, influence, and a fully functioning car, but she has good friends Together they can organize chocolate drives, supermarket sausage sizzles, a tour of the local slaughterhouse whatever it takes to hold on to the scrap of world that is home 4.5 out of 5 stars I loved everything about this book, beginning with its intriguing title So many of us can relate to Loretta, who desperately loves her children but has wonderful fantasies about the man, various versions of him, whom she is going to meet after she drops the kids off at the orphanage.Caught up in her small Aussie town s well, mostly her attempt to save the local school, she petitions, makes signs, organizes, and becomes someone to generally avoid, even in a town where peopl 4.5 out of 5 stars I loved everything about this book, beginning with its intriguing title So many of us can relate to Loretta, who desperately loves her children but has wonderful fantasies about the man, various versions of him, whom she is going to meet after she drops the kids off at the orphanage.Caught up in her small Aussie town s well, mostly her attempt to save the local school, she petitions, makes signs, organizes, and becomes someone to generally avoid, even in a town where people cannot easily be avoided Her sense of humor is delightful Although Loretta doesn t have it easy, this is not a dark book At fewer than 300 pages in paperback, it is a quick read and perfect for that feel good kind of novel in which I love to escape.Thank you to Atria for providing me with a copy of this book Left behind in Gunapan by her lousy husband with her two children, Loretta Boskovic drives the dusty road from her house to town, staring out at the scrubby bushland dreaming of rescue by a handsome lover and a car radio that gets something other than racing commentary In this unique, wryly observed novel, Paddy O Reilly captures the essence of a lonely Australian bush town and it s ordinary residents with humour and heart The author s protagonist is a woman you will find in any small town, sh Left behind in Gunapan by her lousy husband with her two children, Loretta Boskovic drives the dusty road from her house to town, staring out at the scrubby bushland dreaming of rescue by a handsome lover and a car radio that gets something other than racing commentary In this unique, wryly observed novel, Paddy O Reilly captures the essence of a lonely Australian bush town and it s ordinary residents with humour and heart The author s protagonist is a woman you will find in any small town, she is a single mother juggling child raising with work, a budget that only allows for discounted undies and a longing for an intimate relationship Loretta copes with the spareness of her life with a wicked sense of humour, and roll up your sleeves and get on with it attitude Her children are everything to her, even though she regularly fantasises about being whisked away from their whining demands Raising her two children on her own isn t easy, they miss their father and his sudden though mercifully brief reappearance seems to trigger their worst instincts leaving Loretta floundering.Loretta isn t completely alone, her neighbour, Norm a laconic and slightly eccentric collector is her dearest friend and champion Her best friend is also a single woman on the prowl and in a community like Gunupan everyone knows everyone else.In an unconscious effort to stave off her loneliness, Loretta rallies the community in an effort to stop the closure of their school and when that is accomplished, finds a new cause involving a shady development deal and corruption Councillors In a small town like Gunapan the community is the lifeblood of the town and depends on its residents to fight for it to stay alive.It is rare to find Australian novels with a vivid sense of place but O Reilly evokes this tiny town in the middle of nowhere, slowly dying as services and amenities disappear Public swimming pools are drained and sports fields are unplayable thanks to the extended drought and the youth grow up and leave for greener pastures These towns rarely get much attention in fiction with the dazzling Sydney Harbour or wild, romantic outback providingpopular and scenic backdrops.Loretta s every day life in an ordinary town makes for a surprisingly compelling story The Fine Colour of Rust is a character driven novel that also addresses a variety of themes such as social injustice and inequality within a subtly layered plot It will make you laugh and cry and is a fine example of contemporary Australian fiction that captures the essence of who we are, and who we want to be This is a review for the Australian Women Writers Challenge The genre I ll call it contemporary fiction with humour truckloads of it.When we first meet Loretta Boscovic she s daydreaming about dumping her kids in an orphanage and riding off into the sunset with her dream lover on a Harley no less A single mum, she lives with her two children in dusty town called Gunapan.I was captivated from the opening pages With sparse words, P.A O Reilly skilfully crafts a strong image of a strugglin This is a review for the Australian Women Writers Challenge The genre I ll call it contemporary fiction with humour truckloads of it.When we first meet Loretta Boscovic she s daydreaming about dumping her kids in an orphanage and riding off into the sunset with her dream lover on a Harley no less A single mum, she lives with her two children in dusty town called Gunapan.I was captivated from the opening pages With sparse words, P.A O Reilly skilfully crafts a strong image of a struggling town and its inhabitants The goats, Loretta s car, her constant battle for what s right make for an eclectic lead character, but the lesser players aren t abandoned either Norm reminds me of my father and his cronies The regulars at the town meetings feel like people I ve met before Loretta s children, Melissa and Jake, both have a depth and a charm that makes me care about them.I read the The Fine Colour of Rust while I was travelling from Cairns to Taree and back again Many times I laughed out loud particularly at the dialogue causing my fellow travellers to shift in their seats with looks that clearly said mad woman alert I stopped reading several times because I knew I was close to tears Being considered a little nutty is fine, but I know a weeping woman makes others uncomfortable and I didn t want to have to explain myself It was too complicated for that The characters are stereotypical and yet they are unique They are so muchthan cliches I cared about them, I laughed with them and I cried with them They lingered in my mind long after I finished the story and I ve been forcing the book onto friends and relatives ever since.It s Loretta s ability to be wryly amused by everything, including herself and several disasters, that takes the story from depressing to uplifting I gather The Fine Colour of Rust started life as a short story I m very glad Paddy O Reilly decided to explore a littleor I would have missed out on meeting Loretta and the good folk of Gunapan.The Fine Colour of Rust Loretta Boskovic was a single mother, having been deserted by her husband Tony, with promises of money and contact with the kids, Melissa and Jake so far none of THAT had happened Loretta lived in Gunapan, a very small country town in Victoria, Australia It had the usual small town problems, with drought and a lack of water being only a part of it there was only one school, one small supermarket and several other struggling businesses The nearest large town was a couple of hours away.Norm St Loretta Boskovic was a single mother, having been deserted by her husband Tony, with promises of money and contact with the kids, Melissa and Jake so far none of THAT had happened Loretta lived in Gunapan, a very small country town in Victoria, Australia It had the usual small town problems, with drought and a lack of water being only a part of it there was only one school, one small supermarket and several other struggling businesses The nearest large town was a couple of hours away.Norm Stevens Senior was a father figure to Loretta he always looked out for her, he owned the towns junkyard, with every possible spare part anyone could ever want, and had a heart of gold But he also had a very short fuse if anyone threatened someone he cared about It also turned out he wasn t EVERYONE S best friend Loretta had a big heart, and was full of passion She was determined to save the local primary school where Melissa and Jake both attended the local government wanted to close the school, and have the children bussed to the next town Loretta was angry, and so decided to stir the whole town into action Save Our School was formed, and the meetings were lively as long as there were biscuits to be had But it also seemed there was a problem with the local council was it tainted by corruption There were some strange events happening, and they didn t make sense to either Loretta or Norm I absolutely loved the endearing qualities of the characters in this novel, especially Loretta and Norm The Fine Colour of Rust is funny, full of dreams and irony, is warm hearted and oh, so Australian Highly recommended

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