The Curlew’s Eye

Karen Manton

The Curlew's Eye
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The Curlew’s Eye

Karen Manton

As soon as Greta, together with her husband Joel and their three sons, arrives at the rural Top End property where Joel grew up, she is filled with a sense of unease. There’s the dam filled with poisoned water, the burned-out family home on the hill, the crude white stones marking the burial sites of his sister and mother, the irresistible pull and authority of the land itself… and who is the mysterious girl living in a forlorn hut near the creek?

Struggling in the intense humidity of the ‘buildup’ as she plants a garden and helps Joel build a tourist cabin, Greta knows she is an outsider, both to the town and to the land. Using her camera, she tries to make the invisible visible. As she gets drawn into the silent mystery of Joel’s family and the secrets of his past, memories from her own beach childhood down south stir in unexpected and sometimes frightening ways.

Threading through Greta’s experiences is the eerie cry of the curlew like the voice of the land itself, calling her to piece together the grief of the people and the place where she is living, and glimpses of her own past she has pushed aside. This is a story about finding the courage to face your past and learning that listening to what is concealed and unsayable is one of the deep tasks of love.

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