This post is also available in: polski (Polish)
Today, I can present you with prose that is like a multidimensional journey. “The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart “ – is Holly Ringland’s debut novel. 415 pages that I read almost in one breath, over exactly two afternoons.
Pearly bushes/ Maireana sedifolia – my hidden value
The story of Alice Hart is filled with the violence inflicted by her father; she escapes with the pain of a child and a woman who wants to find herself. For me, this is a kind of travel literature through the interior of a hurt person but also across saltwater, flowered, and desert Australia.
The background of this remarkable novel is flowers that grow in various regions of Australia. Their description and meaning begin each chapter of the book and bring information about the present moment of Alice’s life.
Alice has been living among the flowers since childhood. First, she works together with her mother in the garden. After the tragic death of both parents and her doggie, when a grandmother whom she did not know before takes her from the hospital, she discovers that flowers are the base of her family history.
The girl, and later the young beautiful woman struggles for a long time to catch up on the true story. Holly Ringland seems to be sending a message that there is a future after a relationship with a violent man. In my opinion, the author brilliantly presented the interior of a woman full of raging feelings and questions without answers. I wondered if she had been exploring the real stories of people who had experienced violence before writing the novel. Or maybe, she described a piece of her own story?
The book contains poetry
We can read a poem, already on the first page, and the names of the flowers seem very poetic, like flannels flowers which we would like to hug.
In the story, we also find fragments of Aboriginal mythology and culture. Because the author has worked for four years within an Aboriginal community in Australia’s western desert, and as she wrote on the blog, that her imagination started to renewed then.
See you in Australia
After reading the novel, I watched almost immediately a documentary about Australia. For the first time in my life, I really got interested in this country, although I had some occasions before. I discovered that the town’s name, Agnes Bluff, and also Kililpitjara the national park described in the book do not exist in the real world. I found the answer when I read Talking with the author Holly Ringland – Australia, that the places she described were inspired by real regions of Australia which remain special for her, too.
Holly Ringland grew up on the Pacific Ocean like Alice. The Brunswick River one of her favourite rivers is replaced by the river in Thornfield the flower farm we explore in the novel. And the crater of Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) was the inspiration for the Kililpitjara.
When Ringland moved to chilly and rainy England to make her dreams about writing come true, this big contrast in the weather gave her a renewed appreciation of the beauty and unique magic of her homeland. Today she lives between England and Australia, but in both places, she cares about Australian flowers.
If you would like to explore such an interesting story presented in an unusual way, feel the charm of Australia, and maybe explore your own feelings, “The lost flowers of Alice Flowers” is a great choice.
See you in Australia! Have you ever been there?