Foal’s Bread

Dear Gillian,

I chanced across your latest novel (Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, 2012) via a friend. Our now defunct book club still talks books when we see one another, and yours was the topic over coffee one day. As a mother of young children, my friend was at pains to warn me that the opening chapter was almost too much for her. A gritty heart wrenching tale of love and loss is unveiled in the opening pages. And I too put it down, wondering why I should go on. The harsh Australian bush, battlers, slang, horses and show jumping horses all made me uncertain. And yet with gentle encouragement I continued to read….

Your writing is powerful. It captures so much and at times says so little. Words are sparse. And yet the vernacular Australian bush talk tended to push me relentlessly into entering the world of the Nancarrow family. After a few chapters it no longer jarred as I read the prose. Little Noah’s words came to life, supporting ┬áRoley Nancarrow, a local hero now plagued with a paralysing condition.

And as I read about your work, your writing and your current battle with Multiple Sclerosis I am an awe that you allowed yourself the courage to tell that tale in a Foal’s Bread. As our health changes with time and age and new challenges present themselves, there are new opportunities. The unravelling of Roley Nancarrow was powerful and now I know personal. I have just chanced across your letter and interview with Phillip Adam. And now I feel I know you just a little bit more of your story.

Thank you for sharing your Foal’s Bread with me, with all who read this genuine novel. May you find more than a heart shaped stone full of hope to hold onto in these coming days.

S x