Set in the Blue Mountains, The Precipice is the diary - sardonic, moving and revelatory - of cantankerous retired headmistress Thea Farmer, whose career ended years earlier in a scandal. After losing her dream house in the financial crash, she is a resentful observer of the vibrant young couple who move in, together with their solitary twelve-year-old half-Vietnamese niece.
Her initial hostility is diffused by the young man's flirtatious charm, and the reclusive 77-year-old Thea develops an unexpected attachment. But this is soon derailed by an obsession of a very different na-ture, with potentially devastating consequences.
Virginia Duigan worked as a journalist, broadcaster, editor and screenwriter. She was a regular feature writer on The National Times, and contributed documentaries to ABC Radio. She was a freelance contributor to The Bulletin, The Age, The Australian, The Financial Review, Cinema Papers, and in London to the The Observer and The Times. She was Literary Editor of The National Times, and a theatre, book, film and restaurant reviewer, and wrote the screenplay to the movie The Leading Man. The Precipice is her third novel, after Days Like These and The Biographer.
Random House Australia
Author: Virginia Duigan
Question: You're have had a successful career in broadcasting, editing and screenwriting - what do you love most about writing books?
Virginia Duigan: I love the fact that it is you alone and no one else on earth is involved. The portability, the solitude, and the confronting, enlightening journey a novel takes you on.
Question: How did you go about setting the book in the Blue Mountains?
Virginia Duigan: For some years we have had a small weekend cottage in the Blue Mountains and much of the book was written here. I love the potency and power of this landscape. It is a primeval, majestic wilderness on Sydney's doorstep, and I have always been conscious of the valleys and ravines as keepers of secrets. In the novel they are a constant presence rather than a character, and they play a central role.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?