In September 1971, 181 numbered marbles roll around in a barrel while families all over Australia hold their breath.
Jan Murray's searing new novel is set in Northern Queensland in the 1950s and 1970s, touching on the sensitive issues of the time - adoption, the Stolen Generation, conscription, draft-dodging and the Vietnam War.
In Goodbye Lullaby, the themes Jan writes about come from her real life experience; her opposition to conscription and the war in Vietnam in the 1970s, her cousin's experience staying in a home for young unmarried mothers, and her time spent with the Wujal Wujal women of the Kuku-Yalanji, listening to their history and stories.
Jan is a beautiful writer and Goodbye Lullaby takes an extremely poignant and honest look at Australian culture during this very controversial time in our history.
Sixteen year-old Caroline 'Miki' Patrick confides to her best friend - the outspoken, smart-mouthed Jude - that she's pregnant. After a failed abortion attempt, Miki finds herself in the iron embrace of St Anthony's home for wayward girls, with the scheming Sister Angela in her ear. But Jude convinces Miki they can raise the child together, and they take to the road.
But neither of them is prepared for the hardships they face - and after one particularly difficult night, Jude walks out. Alone, poor and scared for her baby's welfare, Miki struggles on, but a year later, she decides the best solution is to surrender Dominic for adoption.
Years later, Miki is a dangerous woman, and she's on the run. A vocal anti-war activist who assists draft dodgers, Miki is hiding from the Federal Police and never stays in one place very long. That is, until Dominic's birthday is drawn in the conscription lottery, and Jude returns.
But neither of the women has forgotten 'their' son - and Miki and Jude will stop at nothing to be reunited with him. Goodbye Lullaby introduces a strong new voice in Australian fiction.
Jan Murray is an Australian author with many years' experience as a copywriter, media manager and marketing strategist. Jan is available for interview from Sydney.
Author: Jan Murray