"Catherine Currie began writing her diary at Ballan in 1873. Soon afterwards, she left with her husband and young children to take up a selection deep in the forests of west Gippsland.
Catherine's life was one of unrelenting daily work, which she recorded faithfully in the diary. As the years wore on and her early pioneering optimism turned to disillusionment and sometimes despair, it also became a private confessional.
This beautifully written and engrossing work uses parallel narratives to tell Catherine's story. Five skilfully written chapters catch the cadences of Catherine s diary, interweaving direct quotes with discreet comment and explanation. Between these chapters runs a twentieth century voice, offering thoughtful and lucid reflections on themes such as 'madness' and 'landscape', and illuminating Catherine's life for modern readers through the ideas of historians and theorists such as Michel Foucault and Paul Carter.
Catherine is first and foremost a simple and moving story, bringing the reader into direct, vivid and personal contact with Catherine Currie. More subtly, it allows readers to glimpse those fine lines which separate life and text, chance and