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The Beachcomber's Wife

The Beachcomber's Wife

by Adrian Mitchell
Publication Date: 15/12/2016
RRP  $24.95 $24.75

It should have been a paradise, but paradise is what you lose, it is what you might have had.

An elderly woman who has lived for many years on a tropical island off the Queensland coast with her beachcomber husband waits for help from the mainland. For three harrowing days, alone. He has died, his body lies in their cabin just up from the beach, and while she awaits help she reviews her reclusive life there, of nearly 25 years with him. She is a woman with a glint in her mind's eye.

The Beachcomber's Wife draws upon the published writings of E.J. Banfield, who lived an isolated life with his wife Bertha on Dunk Island through the first decades of the twentieth century. He made very little reference to her in his work (Confessions of a Beachcomber and others). This account imagines what it might have been like from her point of view. It follows Banfield's practice, of fact cemented with fiction.

Contemporary fiction
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Wakefield Press Pty, Limited
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Adrian Mitchell

Adrian Mitchell was born in Adelaide, and for many years taught and published in Australian literature, at the University of Adelaide and then at the University of Sydney, where he remains an Honorary Research Associate.

His interest now is in retrieving the stories of those who have been passed over or forgotten, and in finding new ways of re-presenting them, beginning with a book of memoirs about Adelaide, Drawing the Crow (2006); Dampier’s Monkey: A reading of the South Seas narratives of William Dampier (2010); Plein Airs and Graces: The life and times of George Collingridge, short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for non-fictional prose (2013); and The Profilist (2015), all with Wakefield Press.

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