Most Aussies, myself included, are fairly adept at the art of the sledge, particularly towards their fellow countrymen. Competitive banter is a national pastime: the State of Origin annual footy series pins New Souths Wales against Queensland (go Blues!), and don’t get me started about the whole Sydney v Melbourne thang. South Australia is not left untouched by good-natured deprecation. Good ole SA is a state I have only visited once mind you and I was fifteen years old! But you know, whatevs.
(In my well-informed view), I’ve often thought of the great state of South Australia as the state of serial killers and great wine (there could be a connection, I’m not sure). Like seriously, the wine is AWESOME and I would have tried, you know, all of them. The serial killer comment may be a bit harsh critique but hey, google “Snowtown” and you decide.
After reading this novel, I also find it the state of domestic violence which is not fair on SA but author Kim Lock uses the locale as such significant backdrop, it almost becomes a protagonist. I don’t know where to start. I don’t think I’ve used the word harrowing in any of my previous blogs and I introduce it now with ease. This novel is incredibly harrowing and it exposes the absolute effortlessness of subjugation and domination on the domestic front. Small and yet manipulative acts of control seep their way like osmosis as wife Jenna becomes subsumed by husband Ark’s scheming and domineering influence. The acts of control begin as small advances which increase with discombobulated regularity as it invades and settles into permanent habitation. It is excruciating to bear witness to this insidious type of abuse.
There are a couple of secondary and concurrent plotlines in this book but the stand-out is Jenna’s story and her descent into vulnerability that becomes emotional and physical depravation. I don’t think a book like this can ever be ‘enjoyed’ in the true sense of the word but it does provide a glaring lamppost, illuminating the reader to the sinister and dangerous world of domestic violence, the most devastating symptom of which is its concealment.