A Room made of leaves – Kate Grenville

I’d never heard of John MacArthur, an early settler of the colony of New South Wales, and an Australian ‘worthy.’ This story is an imagining of the life of his wife, Elisabeth, told in her words.  MacArthur is compulsively argumentative, a schemer, and ruthlessly ambitious.  Elisabeth marries him because she has no option, and decides to make the best of her bad lot by learning to manage him.  From debt-ridden poverty in England, the MacArthurs rise to prosperity in the brave new world of Australia.

A Room Made of Leaves is about a marriage and the relationship between the sexes, and also about colonialism, complicity, and our relationship to the land.  It’s a compelling read, and one I very much enjoyed.

Room made of leaves