The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns: Review

The Settling Earth

 

They voyaged from Britain to the ends of the earth, “the antipodes”,.

Driven by hardship, propelled by hope, the women in these stories left behind the Mother Country and sought to make new lives. But the settlers brought with them the same stultifying conventions and social constraints they had left behind, in particular the dominance of men.

Isolated on bleak farms or in soul-destroying boarding houses, the women are at the mercy of men’s whims, and no less enshackling, the male control of property. They are always one slip away from total poverty. They must reach deep down through their instincts to do what it takes to survive – or else succumb.

Each story is complete and satisfying in itself, and yet -like life – they are also connected by events or characters, so that the stories towards the end satisfyingly close the circle of themes. The last story, by Shelly Davies of the Ngātiwai tribe, adds a Maori viewpoint of these arrivals.

I enjoyed Rebecca Burns previous collection, “Catching the Barramundi” and found “The Settling Earth” to be a fascinating perspective into the past of the the land where I was born.

I enjoyed Rebecca Burns previous collection, “Catching the Barramundi” and found “The Settling Earth” to be a fascinating perspective into the past of the the land where I was born.