On holiday in Queenstown again, among the mountains and lakes. Taking time here in a cybercafe to write about that book I enjoyed reading so much.
Here are my thoughts on 'Luca Antara':
I think what I liked most about this book by Martin Edmond, was its patience. Which of course is all to do with the writer's style. Its three threads - narrative, mystery and autobiography are deftly woven, or in this case maybe plaited would be a more apt description, into a satisfying pattern pleasing to the eye and ear.
Ostensibly it tells of the possible earliest European discoveries of Australia, but as well, there are other tales to be told.
The book starts and ends with the writer's own relationship with Australia, in particular with the city of Sydney. It is a realtionship Edmond tends to divulge slowly, piece by piece. Or do I mean in a piecemeal fashion? Whatever. Both probably. I believe it is this meandering style, this slow suffusion, that gives the book its dream-like tone.
As a reader I was intrigued and entranced. I found myself drawn into both Edmond's inner and outer world as it was being played out in Sydney at its most surreal. The mystery deepens as Edmond sets out to solve a mystery, and then travels to parts of Asia and the Pacific in order to track down or establish details.
This last part of the book is the part I found most satisfying. It is where Edmond is perhaps at his best, a patient, laconic observer, never obtrusive, never opinionated, but simply a recorder of what unfolds. We read about what he sees, hears, smells ... of what he experiences as a traveller - which is often when life is at its most random; an aspect Edmond's able to capture well with pleasing subtelty. Effortlessly, he allows us to accompany him on his quiet quest.
Part of the experience of reading this novel is that we are led to wonder if maybe it is partly a fiction made out to be fact - or the other way around. Edmond's clever handling however ensures that as a reader I never felt I was being toyed with. Indeed, I was happy to be taken along for the ride.
I didn't actually want the book to end. I hope I can go on another journey soon. When's the next trip planned Martin?