Soon

Soon

Soon

An almost deserted town in the middle of nowhere, Nebulah's days of mining and farming prosperity – if they ever truly existed – are long gone. These days even the name on the road sign into town has been removed. Yet for Pete, an ex-policeman, Milly, Li and a small band of others, it's the only place they have ever felt at home. One winter solstice the birds disappear. A strange, residual and mysterious mist arrives. It is a real and potent force, yet also strangely emblematic of the complacency and unease that afflicts so many of our small towns, and the country that Murphy knows so well.

Partly inspired by the true story of Wittenoom, the ill-fated West Australian asbestos town, Soon is the story of the death of a haunted town, and the plight of the people who either won't, or simply can't, abandon all they have ever had. With finely wrought characters and brilliant storytelling, it is a taut and original novel, where the people we come to know, and those who are drawn to the town's intrigue, must ultimately fight for survival.

Lois Murphy has travelled widely, most recently spending six years exploring Australia in a homemade 4WD truck, working mainly in small or remote towns, before settling in Darwin for a number of years. She has won a handful of prizes for her writing, including the Northern Territory Literary Award and the Sisters in Crime Best New Talent Prize. The majority of Soon, her first novel, was written while living in a caravan park in Carnarvon. Lois currently lives in Melbourne, Victoria.

Soon
Transit Lounge Publishing
Author: Lois Murphy
ISBN: 9780995409804
RRP: $29.95


Interview with Lois Murphy

Question: What inspired the story of Soon?

Lois Murphy: Soon was originally inspired by the story of the town of Wittenoom in Western Australia, which was made to 'disappear' by the government when it was discovered that asbestos was potentially fatal. The idea of dealing with such a crisis by simply evicting all the town's inhabitants, and taking the town off the map fascinated me. The story of the people who stayed, refusing to leave their homes despite the intimidation and the threat enveloping them was one that hooked me, and I kept thinking, how hard would it be to give up everything, your home and community, and just walk away? This is a question particularly relevant today, when so many people have been forced to flee from their homes, such terrible situations, and they're greeted by bureaucratic indifference and aggression, as if they're criminals.


Question: Why did you choose Nebulah for the setting of Soon?

Lois Murphy: Nebulah is a fictional town. I based it on the kind of small regional town that's isolated from larger centres, through distance and declining population. The sort of town that's left behind these days, through lack of employment and the closing of services. Imagine if Wittenoom was close to Sydney or the northern NSW coast - there's no way it would have been simply displaced the way it was, there would have been a huge outcry to 'save' it.


Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real people and places?

Lois Murphy: Real people and places are the crux of my inspiration (despite the fact that novel is basically a ghost story). I'm interested in the plights of real people, the realities of survival in today's world, particularly beyond the often contrived environment and interests of the city centres. I found, in my travels, that there's a huge disjunction between life in an Australian rural town, and life in the cities, and a hell of a lot of resentment. The economic differences are enormous, and the social realities, the difficulties in accessing services that we take for granted in the urban areas. And yet the urban centres make the decisions that affect the living conditions of people largely doing it hard. How people cope, and the attitudes I encountered towards these issues largely informed my characters and the scenario of Soon.


Question: What's next, for you?

Lois Murphy: I'm working on my third book, although I tend to dwell a lot before I start writing anything. I'm in dwell mode at the moment, but very ready for the escapism of writing again.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

Soon

Transit Lounge Publishing
Author: Lois Murphy
ISBN: 9780995409804
RRP: $29.95




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