SEASON OF THE BRIAR by H. F. Brinsmead


Email this review


H. F. Brinsmead takes her considerable talent for calling up the look of the landscape, the mood of the moment, from western Australia (Pastures of the Blue Crane, 1966) to Tasmania in a story of four boys thrown together and tested against an alien environment. Two (Matt and Doug) are university students, one (Clancy) is a farmer's son, one (Fred) is a ""funny bloke"" who is hard of hearing; they're working temporarily as a weed-spraying crew to earn extra money. Early on, they encounter a group of bushwalkers (hikers), and three of the boys, each in his own way, are attracted by Gisela, a gallant, bossy little sixteen-year-old. Their misadventures with Grumpy Gertie and Cranky Connie, the two blitz buggies (weed-spraying behemoths) make amusing reading, but the story settles down seriously after the boys reach Lynnore, an isolated settlement, and learn that Gisela is lost oh a nearby mountain. The predictable search develops quite Unpredictably: the boys' loyalties are strained and then split, Matt endangers himself and the settlers by insisting on joining the rescue party, Gisela is finally found by Fred but she will never recover completely from her injuries. There are no heroes here and the only lesson is the danger of self-absorption, the difficulty of mutual involvement. It works beautifully on the level of description, effectively on the level of adventure, remains cloudy on characterization, scores sometimes on subtle sympathies and antipathies--comes out uneven but generally compelling.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1967
Publisher: Coward-McCann