Into That Forest

Louis Nowra. Amazon/Skyscape, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4778-1725-4
A distinctive narrative voice opens this startling and mesmerizing tale, which is told as one long story with minimal breaks: “Me name be Hannah O’Brien and I be seventy-six years old.” Recalling her early life in the same Tasmanian house that now crumbles around her, Hannah describes the fateful day 70 years ago when her parents took her and another girl, Becky, for a picnic. A sudden storm, the drowning of Hannah’s parents, and the girls’ dramatic rescue by tigers lead to their gradual transformation. Over time, they lose their clothes and language, becoming den-dwelling, nocturnal, growling hunters (“Becky jumped up... and buried her face in the wallaby’s bloody insides”) with keen senses of sight, hearing, and smell, like their tiger rescuers, which they name Dave and Corinna. Australian playwright and novelist Nowra manages to make the initial disaster pale in comparison to the girls’ traumatic rescue four years later by Becky’s anguished father, their forced separation from the tiger parents they have grown to depend on, and their brutal reentry into civilization. A thrilling and heartbreaking tale of survival. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/2013
Release date: 09/03/2013
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