Jane Harper, The Dry
That’s partly what took city natives like the Whitlam by surprise, Falk thought. The quiet. He could understand them seeking out the idyllic country lifestyle; a lot of people did. The idea had an enticing wholesome glow when it was weighed up from the back of a traffic jam or while crammed into a garden-less apartment. They all had the same visions of breathing fresh clean air and knowing their neighbours. The kids would eat home-grown veggies and learn the value of an honest day’s work.
On arrival, as the empty moving truck disappeared from sight, they gazed around and were always taken aback by the crushing vastness of the open land. The space was the thing that hit them first. There was so much of it. There was enough to drown in. To look out and see not another soul between you and the horizon could be a strange and disturbing sight.
These two paragraphs stuck out at me and I read them repeatedly. I could relate very well to the first paragraph as that’s what Jamie and I did for years before finally committing to moving to his parent’s farm in Western Australia. We had moved from one tiny city apartment to another. We did stay three years at a house we rented where the landlord lived next door and we were able to have our own small vegetable patch. We were also married just a few metres from this yard.
The second paragraph though I couldn’t really relate to. It was completely different from my experience moving to the family farm. Perhaps this is attributed to my complete lack of understanding of the farming industry. That and drought not being as horrendous an issue in Western Australia than it is in other parts of the world. We were also moving to a home where there were so many siblings that it was basically like a small community, so there was no chance of us feeling lonely.
Still, I like this passage because it illustrated something that I’ve come to realise is a universal thing–feeling disgruntled and disappointed with city living, civilisation and technological advancement in general. Wanting to escape back to “simpler times”. Hence apocalyptic stories becoming more and more popular–the fantasy of being forced back into nature that most of us don’t have the opportunity to live out.