I wrote about Eve Langley for FSG Work in Progress.
One thing that didn’t seem worth mentioning in the article, but which shook me to the core when I read it, was that Langley transformed into Oscar Wilde in Manildra, the tiny New South Wales town where I spent my childhood. According to her biography she lived there for a short period as a child.
Laid flat across the backseat of a Statesman on the road between Manildra and Parkes
I hope this survives all disasters.
Clydebank Road, Leura. Writer Eve Langley lived in a shack along this road until her death in 1974.
“I climbed the rocky hill in front of me and came to a large stone house lying well back among the trees, the trees of my dream. I walked in. Beyond the cold darkness engendered by the leaves, the sun shone strong, and the mossy joints of the stone veranda steamed. Then I heard the bees, and their voices were like the sun singing aloud down through many flutes; long, low and banked by the fires of work were their murmurs, as they streamed out of an empty room in which they had their hives. This old house was a mingling of wet mossy stone and dry wood; little cell-like rooms lay along its passages; blue glass doors locked the halls, and over all lay the silence of distillation. Everything that could have been taken from those who lived there once had been taken and now was breathed out again. The human life in that house was still active. Yes, from old books that I saw scattered around, from old rags and bits of crockery, an oblique sort of family was formed by the house in its loneliness.”
– The Pea-Pickers
Out in Japan via Hayakawa July 4. Translated by Kitako Eriko, cover art by Jun Tada.