"The understorey is where I live, alongside these plants and creatures. I tend the forest, stand at the foot of trees and look up, gather what has fallen."
Each chapter of this absorbing memoir explores a particular species of tree, layering description, anecdote, and natural history to tell the story of a scrap of forest in the Sunshine Coast hinterland - how the author came to be there and the ways it has shaped her life.
In many ways, it's the story of a tree-change, of escaping suburban Brisbane for a cottage on ten acres in search of a quiet life. Of establishing a writers' retreat shortly before the Global Financial Crisis hit, and losing just about everything when it did.
It is also the story of what the author found there: the literature of nature and her own path as a writer. Understory is about connection to place as a white settler descendant, and the search for a language appropriate to describe that experience.
About the Author
Inga Simpson began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program and, as a result, Hachette Australia published her first novel, Mr Wigg, in 2013. NEST, Inga's second novel, was published in 2014, before being longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize, and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Inga's third novel, the acclaimed Where the Trees Were, was published in 2016. Inga won the final Eric Rolls Prize for her nature writing and recently completed a second PhD, exploring the history of Australian nature writers. Inga's memoir about her love of Australian nature and life with trees, Understory, will be published in June 2017.
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Comments about Understory:
This is the first of Inga Simpson's book I have read and have since ordered two previous books. I loved reading her story of living in the wilds of the hinterland and her real connection to the bush around her. She took the reader on her journey of discovering the seasonal changes as they took place. Her style of switching back to her childhood was insightful and interesting. I would recommend this book to any reader who loves the Australian bush and reading about the people who live beneath the trees. Inga has a compelling writing style that makes it very hard to put her book down.
Comments about Understory:
A lovely gentle book full of information on trees, interwoven with the history of one person's journey through the GFC. Well written and absorbing. A delight to read.
It is a fine addition to the genre of Australian nature writing. - Books + Publishing
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 30th May 2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.5 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.38
Edition Number: 1