Into That Forest by Louis Nowra, published by Egmont on 7th January 2013
Me name be Hannah
O'Brien and I be seventy-six years old. Me first thing is an apology -
me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again. But here's
me story and I be glad to tell it before I hop the twig.
begins this extraordinary novel, which will transport you to Australia's
wild frontier and stay in your mind long after you've finished reading.
'Into That Forest' was a wonderful book, unlike anything else I've ever read before. The story takes the reader on an incredible journey through the Tasmanian outback with friends Hannah and Becky. Thoughts of this book lingered with me long after turning the final page and I'm looking forward to passing it onto others who haven't yet discovered such an amazing title.
The story is narrated by seventy-six year old Hannah, who is looking back on her early life. Nothing could prepare me for the tale she would have to tell of surviving in the wilderness with her friend Becky and two Tasmanian tigers, who she names Dave and Corinna. Not only do the girls survive but in their own way they adapt and flourish in their new environment. They become like tigers themselves, moving on all fours and shedding their human clothes, as well as taking part in the hunt for fresh meat. Isolated from contact with any other human being, they begin to forget their previous existence and become happy with their new lives.
Everything changes however when they realise that the hunters have now become the hunted. Two men are seemingly intent on capturing them and rescuing them from the tigers, but the girls do not want to return to civilisation and a new struggle ensues.
Louis Nowra depicts both the horror and the beauty of life in the outback. I enjoyed seeing how the girls adapted to life with the tigers and even began to see them as their new mother and father. The tigers in return adopt them as their own, surrogate daughters instead of the cubs which they are brutally robbed of. There's a sense of freedom throughout the first half of the book as the girls run wild, their senses sharpening as they become accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells around them. There are some wonderfully descriptive passages of them both curled up next to the tigers for warmth, as well as enjoying the taste of fresh meat and hot blood.
The ending is devastating but beautifully told and the perfect conclusion to an outstanding read. I hope that readers who wouldn't normally pick up a book like this are encouraged to give it a try because 'Into That Forest' is a story which deserves to be read.