Beneath the Bloodwood Tree by Julienne van Loon – Book Review

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One of the things I really love about Melbourne Writers Festival is that it introduces me to the work of authors I did not know previously. Thanks, MWF, because I now know Julienne van Loon, and I suspect I will be a lifelong fan.

Beneath the Bloodwood tree is set in Western Australia in Port Hedland, looking at life over a few months through the eyes of several characters; there is Pia Ricci, the dentist of Chinese/Italian background who is conducting a casual affair with a married man whose wife lives out-of-town; Joachim, the Dutch nurse who enters into a more serious relationship with Pia with unexpected consequences and the widow Barnes who lives mostly in her own mind with the ghosts of her past.

I love the pacing of van Loon’s writing. Information is drip fed, but not in the way that makes you want to race to the end and pull it to pieces. Instead, she directs you in each direction, letting you see a little and then taking you elsewhere until eventually, you realise you’ve seen the whole picture, and it is not what you expected.

Julianne van Loon will be appearing at the Melbourne Writers Festival at The Morning Read on Friday August 23 at 10am at Beer DeLuxe, Asian Stories Australian Postcodes on Saturday August 24 at 10am at The Cube, ACMI, The Morning Read on Saturday August 24 at 10 at Beer DeLuxe and is hosting First Flight on Sunday August 25 at ACMI. For tickets and more information visit MWF.

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