Black Dust Dancing: Tracy Crisp
This intimate, deeply-felt novel centres on a small industrial town where the industry that supports the community appears to be threatening its children. Doctor Caro and daughter Sophie have moved to Port Joseph in search of a new beginning, following the death of husband Sean. They’re also moving closer to family, in the form of Sean’s mother and brother Joel. Heidi, Joel’s fiancée, seeks Caro’s advice on her son’s slightly concerning health, uncovering the real problem of dangerously high lead levels in his blood.
When Heidi, with Caro’s encouragement, pushes for recognition of the issue, it causes conflict not only within the town, but within the family. That’s the driving narrative of the novel, but its pleasures lie within its crisply drawn characterisations, choice details and observations, and the gradually excavated fault lines in its relationships.
The reader is kept thinking and guessing as they piece together the way the past is feeding into the present. ‘Just because people don’t lie, doesn’t mean they tell the truth,’ says one character – and that observation is at the heart of this impressive first novel.