Five words from the blurb: girls, lost, wild, Tasmania, tigers
Into That Forest is a powerful book about two girls who find themselves alone in the wilderness after a tragic accident. Lost in the dense forests of Tasmania, they are cold and hungry; but their lives are saved by a Tasmanian tiger. They develop a relationship with a pair of these wonderful creatures, learning to hunt and communicate with them. Over time they begin to forget their human past, developing the posture and expressions of the tigers. This book does a fantastic job of questioning what makes us human and how close we are to being wild animals.
Tasmanian tigers are large, carnivorous marsupials. I knew nothing about them before reading this book, but the atmospheric descriptions brought them to life. By the end I felt I completely understood the behaviour of these animals. They were thought to have become extinct in 1936, but recent discoveries indicate that there may be a small population surviving in remote regions. I hope that this is the case.
The two girls were fantastic characters, each with their own unique personality. I loved the way they had different reactions to the situations they faced. It all felt very realistic and I felt immense empathy for them both throughout.
The book was narrated in a halting dialect. It took a few pages to become used to this style, but it quickly became natural:
My only problem with this book was the small section towards the end involving the ship. I can see why it was included, but I felt that much of the emotional power of the text was lost over this section and I wish it hadn’t been included. Luckily this episode was brief and book quickly returned to its fantastic plot, finishing with appropriate power and sentiment.
This book had me gripped from beginning to end. I loved the originality of the story and the way it introduced me to the lives of these half-forgotten creatures. Highly recommended.
Has anyone read anything else written by Louis Nowra?
Was it as good as this one?