A passionate, emotional and moving book which weaves the story of two people, each locked in their own tragedy yet linked by an indefinable thread.
'Then she saw again the dark figure rise, poised on the wavetop.' Paul, a Vietnam vet disfigured by a napalm attack, has recently been deserted by his horrified wife. Day after day he camps at Devil's Head and takes his surfboard over the outer reef, hoping the sharp rocks will claim him and save him from his nightmares. From the shop on the beach, Brenda, scarred by her brief marriage to an air-force pilot, watches his crazy dance of death.
A starving and homeless Aboriginal boy trying to find enough food to survive after his parents' death becomes an intermediary between the two misfits consumed by their own demons. And one day the two are forced out of their introspection when tragedy intervenes.
The playwright and novelist Ellen Dymphna Cusack, born in 1902, graduated from the University of Sydney in 1925. Despite being of fragile health, she taught in schools across country NSW for almost 20 years. She published her first novel, Jungfrau, in 1936.
Cusack's first literary collaboration - Pioneers on Parade (1939) - was with Miles Franklin. After retiring, she wrote Come in Spinner (1951) with Florence James, which dwelt on controversial issues, such as prostitution and abortion, and was an immediate sensation. It was finally published unabridged in 1988, and became an ABC TV series in 1989.
After the war, Cusack travelled through Europe, China and Russia for 20 years with her partner Norman Freehill, a journalist and member of the Communist Party. She wrote nine more novels - including Southern Steel (1953), Picnic Races (1962), Black Lightning (1964) and The Half-Burnt Tree (1969) - and several plays, before her death in