The title may be a literal translation of ""utopia,"" but the isolated Australian fishing village of New Canaan is anything but -- as Rachel and Sarah, two teenaged residents, and Sam, a visiting student, discover. Following a clue uttered by his mother (an aborigine) on her deathbed, Sam has come to track down his father and family; but his inquiries are met with silent suspicion by the twisted, disturbed locals, all white. Crew gradually builds a charged atmosphere lit by signs and portents of what's to come. Led by Sarah's half-deranged mother, Sam and his young friends uncover a mass grave concealed in a thicket of lantana and later find the town's awful secret laid out pictorially in an eerie codex; 20 years ago, in a drunken frenzy, the men captured the last local aborigines in a huge net and drowned them. After this revelation, Crew creates an apocalyptic climax in which a nearby volcano erupts, destroying grave, book, and an enigmatic, white-robed religious leader known only as The Father -- a literal title, it turns out, in Sam's case. Crew also explored the effects of racial violence in Strange Objects (1993); here, he develops that theme on a more obviously symbolic level.