Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Children's Bach

At night, when they had put the children to bed, Dexter and Athena walked. They were ruthless about going.

They kept pace easily, not touching. They covered miles each night in the dark, sometimes heading east along the creek across the parklands to where it joined the Yarra River, sometimes north-east as far as the huge upturned saucer of Royal Park where the wild dogs in the zoo howled at the moon and monkeys gibbered behind the wall.

Dexter wanted to live gloriously, and on the nights they walked he did.

The Children's Bach by Helen Garner is one of my very favourite books. I studied it in year twelve and I never quite appreciated its quiet skill. I am re-reading it and it is so much better now that I am living in Melbourne and running around Royal Park past the zoo in the evenings. I get it now. Read it. Especially if you live in Melbourne and like Garner's writing. Even if you don't. It's just right.

If you can, walk around that area. It's right in the middle of the city but you would have no idea. Get onto Flemington Road and keep going through the park towards Princes Park in Parkville. You can twist and turn along little tracks for hours in there. It's quite and smells like calm.

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