#19 The World Beneath – Cate Kennedy

22 Mar
The World Beneath - Cate Kennedy

The World Beneath – Cate Kennedy

Goodreads rating: 3.45/5 (250+ ratings)

My rating: 7/10

First Published: August 2010

Genre: Modern Fiction, Australiana

The first thing that I noticed in this book, and loved, was how it depicted a pretty regular broken family. Sandy and Rich were activists in the  80’s at the Franklin River blockade in Tasmania, and are both stuck in nostalgia of the time. They later went on to have a daughter, Sophie, who is now 15. Sophie is a feisty, strong-willed, slightly ’emo’ teenager, who is very obsessed with her weight. . Rich left the family before Sophie was 1, and has been practically estranged since then, aside from the occasional postcard from his travels as a photographer, or a birthday call to his daughter.

Rich comes back into Sophie & Sandy’s lives when he asks Sophie to come on a trek at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, Australia. Sophie jumps at the chance to get to know her dad, and also to get away from her slightly nutty, occasional pot-smoking, jewellery stall hosting mother who is currently driving her insane. While on the trek, Sandy goes to a ‘Goddess’ retreat to try to sort her mind out and figure out who she is and what she wants from life.

I love the first 75% of this book. The depiction of family life was interesting and believable, and the description of the Tasmanian landscape was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed that as I’ve done a trek down the Freycinet Peninsula on the East Coast of Tasmania with my dad! However thankfully I have a much better relationship with my dad, and didn’t have nearly as much drama on our walk!

However, the last quarter of the book irked me a bit. It felt like Kennedy took a lot of time with the majority of the story, and then rushed a whole lot of drama into a small amount of time – anorexia, injury, getting lost in the forest, possibly sighting of an extinct animal, and a frantic mother. I think, at 352 pages should have been expanded and explained more thoroughly.

Overall I enjoyed this story quite a bit, and would definitely recommend it.

Bits & pieces

  • The World Beneath was Cate Kennedy’s first novel. She is an acclaimed short story author.
  • Winner of the People’s Choice Award for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2010, as well as being shortlisted for multiple other awards



4 Responses to “#19 The World Beneath – Cate Kennedy”

  1. Vickie Bates March 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this review of “The World Beneath.” It sounds like one to add to my reading list. I love to “armchair travel” through stories like this, where the landscape becomes part of and/or drives the story.

    Great descriptions and synopsis of the plot. Cheers!

    • hms1990 March 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks so much Vickie! Are you in the US? I think it’d definitely be a good book to get the feel for Tasmania for someone who’s never been there. Definitely one to add to your list!

      • Vickie Bates March 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

        Yes, I live in Hollywood, Calif., and Australia, Tasmania and Flinders Island (as well as New Zealand) have long been on my travel list.

      • hms1990 March 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

        Oh i went to Hollywood last year and loved it. Tasmania is beautiful, so is NZ!

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