‘Flight Behaviour’ primarily tackles the issue of climate change and could, at first flick, appear a ‘ho hum’ topic to spend your time on. However, with a bit of delving our small group was able to pull apart so many layers to the characters and to the story that we all agreed it was great, and extremely well written.
There was the disconnect between those communities that rely on their land for an income and those who seek to protect it, at all costs. The book encourages the reader to develop a more nuanced understanding of climate activism and climate change denial.
There was the individual journey of the main character Dellarobia who ‘blossomed’ throughout the course of the book – a bit like the Monarch butterflies she discovered in the mountains behind her home.
There were the relationships – the falling apart ones, the imaginary ones, the strong ones and the ideal ones.
There was the effect of global consumerism on the environment. It asks us, the readers, to grapple with the broad range of harms associated with this system. A system which sends jobs to countries that can supply more cheaply than our own. This led the group onto a discussion of the similarities between the communities effected by the loss of jobs in the book and those that recently voted Trump into power.
What we took away from the many layered storylines in the book:
Staying true to yourself and following your heart and that we should take into consideration the individual stories of the people on both sides of the climate change debate.
Coming up in May is ‘The Golden Age’ by Joan London.
It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At the Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Home in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love and desire, music, death, and poetry. It is a place where children must learn they’re alone, even within their families.
Subtle, moving and remarkably lovely, The Golden Age evokes a time past and a yearning for deep connection, from one of Australia’s finest and most-loved novelists.