Monday, March 23, 2009

In which ThirdCat's book is launched

Finally at 2 am this yesterday morning I put this book down, about half-finished in one hit, and went to bed, but I didn't want to.

It's the story of two women, loosely and obliquely connected through family ties, and their complicated relationship with the South Australian town -- regional and industrial -- to which they are very attached, but which they fear may be making their children sick. It's a poet's novel, but it's also an activist's one.

Longtime readers of ThirdCat's blogs, especially the unique and wonderful 'blogopera' Adelaide Sprawls, will be familiar with her style and technique: restrained, almost minimalist, but with a turn of phrase and of observation that nails something you sort of already knew but would never have thought of putting quite like that.

They will be familiar, too, with her subject matter: the lives, circumstances and feelings of 'ordinary people' and all the stuff that seethes under the surface of their days and the physical objects and actions of daily life, the tea-making, the hair-washing and the car-fixing; the unresolved tensions, the suppressed exclamations, the half-understood feelings, the quality and complexity of emotional responses and transactions, the tiny fluctuations of feeling between people, the mysteries that reside in what is not said.

... she had not needed a card to know who the roses were from. But she didn't know what they meant.

Even going over the words they had said on the phone she couldn't work it out. They could mean sorry or I miss you or goodbye, because in the end she had pushed him to say, I will get over you, if that's what you make me do.

(Recycling disclosure: I have said some of this about Tracy's writing before, and it will look familiar to her if not to anyone else.) It's all there in Black Dust Dancing, though less concentrated and intense, making more room, as is proper in a novel, for the story and the setting.

So this afternoon at Sturt Street Primary School, icon and symbol of all that is best in the history of South Australian education and school to both of Tracy's boys, an assortment of family, friends and fans assembled to celebrate her achievement, buy her novel, and queue up to get her to sign it,

and then to see it officially launched by Adelaide's Sheridan Stewart, artist, comedian, radio presenter and MC of the comedy show Titters, which featured Tracy in her other life as a standup comedian and which was practically booked out for the duration of the Adelaide Fringe.

(Sheridan Stewart attended by Wakefield Press publisher Michael Bollen, behind whose left hip you can just see a bottle of the fabled Fox Creek Verdelho.)

Sheridan made a funny, warm speech but was upstaged by Tracy's boys, who came purposefully up to the bar behind her and fetched a cup of what was probably apple juice, but looked a lot like white wine, each, and melted back into the crowd, to its general appreciation. Tracy then made an excellent thank-you speech,

dividing the thankees into thoughtful categories instead of naming names, which is always a minefield.

Before and after the ceremonials I had a nice talk with the lovely Deborah from In A Strange Land and met her beautiful daughters.

Tracy and the boys and the mister have to fly back to Abu Dhabi tomorrow morning. I'm guessing she might try to have a bit of a nap on the plane.


fifi said...

how absolutely wonderful and I can't wait to read it.

Deborah said...

I was so pleased to have the chance to meet you, PC. And I was pleased to be able to celebrate Tracy's book.

Ampersand Duck said...


Oh, so sorry, my fingertips keep shouting today.

genevieve said...

oh WOW. What a lovely place for a launch. That looks so convivial.
If my mum wrote a book I think I'd try to score some vino too.

Many thanks, for the coverage and the blog review.

Zoe said...

There is a little tear in my eye. I'm so glad you could be there for all the blog ladies, Pav.

tigtog said...

What a lovely occasion. Congrats to Tracey!

cristy said...

I really must get my hands on a copy ASAP - I am really quite excited to read it. After all these years of reading Tracey's blog(s), I imagine that the experience will be quite surreal (in a wonderful way).

Oh, and what Zoe said...

Mindy said...

I have ordered my copy from the local bookshop. I'm stimulating the economy (sounds rude) and getting a great book into the bargain. A win-win.

Anonymous said...

it looks all very grown up! I'm just sorry I didn't get a chance to talk with you more - I had no idea that people would come and buy and line up and stuff. People were so lovely. Also, I thought the school was an awesome venue - that school just rocks. Thanks so much for coming along (and with your camera).

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

I would've run this post by you before putting it up, if you hadn't had other things on your mind, and been in the air over the desert, and so on. Hope it is an okay account of proceedings and that the pix are all right -- some serious cropping took place to make sure no children were exposed online in the making of this post!

Anonymous said...

I think it's a brilliant account of proceedings - and I can only imagine how serious that cropping job might have been. There was a lot of them, hey?

Anonymous said...

Just got it today!


Suse said...

Oh Pav, I feel like you were there for all of us. Thank you.

Also, what Fifi said! I'm so excited to get my paws on a copy.

Also, excellent skirt thirdcat.

lucy tartan said...

I've ordered my copy - christening the new credit card lol. Thanks for the post Pav.

meggie said...

What Fifi said, plus thanks for the post!