Jingera Trilogy News
I’m thrilled to write that the Jingera Trilogy – first published in paperback and ebooks form in 2010, 2011 and 2012, by Penguin – has just been republished in June 2023 in a number of different audio editions. They are available at all outlets stocking audio editions, as well as from the publisher, Ulverscroft UK. The trilogy is read by distinguished actress Lisa Armytage.
The first novel in the Jingera Trilogy is Stillwater Creek, which captures a particular time in Australian history, whenmemories of the Second World War are still relatively fresh, communism is the new fear, and social mores are still very conservative. The novel begins with the arrival, in the remote coastal town of Jingera, of a Latvian immigrant Ilona and her daughter Zidra. In 1957 many adults - even in a remote coastal town like Jingera - were still bearing the scars of the Second World War and the enormous upheaval it caused in peoples’ lives. At a time when child abuse was not explicitly on the social radar, the immigrants’ appearance in Jingera sets in motion a series of events affecting the whole township. The novel dramatizes the moral dilemma arising when a woman discovers a secret about her husband and she has to decide what action she should take.
The repercussions are many – and unexpected.
‘A mythical town and its people are brought beautifully to life... a really lovely book.’ Sunday Telegraph
'A finely observed historical drama... evocative and eminently readable.’ The Age
The second novel in the Jingera Trilogy, entitled The Indigo Sky, is set in late 1961. Again, ‘Booth uses Jingera as a microcosm for the social and political issues faced by post-war Australia. The novel addresses the removal of Aboriginal children and bullying but manages to maintain a light and hopeful tone’, Herald Sun.
The Indigo Sky interweaves the stories of Lorna, a resilient young Aboriginal woman, and Philip, a vulnerable musical prodigy. Although they are from very different backgrounds – Lorna is from a dispossessed and impoverished family, and Philip from a wealthy and privileged one – there are parallels in their experiences. Both are thrown into tough environments with institutionalized bullying. Both are cut off from their families. For Lorna, censorship precludes interaction with the outside world, while Philip’s stutter impedes communication. How each will survive – or not – is one of the main threads of the novel.
Their narratives are connected by the strong mother-and-daughter team of Ilona and Zidra, and by their friend Jim Cadwallader, the butcher’s son.
A charming, big-hearted tale, told with skill and grace.’ Madison
‘This charming follow-up... captures the heart and soul of a time... you can practically smell the eucalyptus, and picture that titular indigo sky.’ Bookseller & Publisher
‘Alison Booth’s distinctive characters live in Jingera, a small fictional town on the coast of NSW... Booth puts steel into the charm by addressing the harsher realities of the times.’ The Age
The final book in the trilogy is A Distant Land, set in 1971.
At the start of the novel, Jim is a respected correspondent covering the Vietnam War as it spills over into Cambodia. He’s made this choice because of his growing interest in human rights. However, he plans to return home to Australia for good, for there’s something important he wants to tell Zidra. Meanwhile Zidra is an ambitious journalist working for the Sydney Morning Chronicle. She and Lorna get caught up in different ways with the moratorium marches and ASIO’s monitoring of them. Zidra has defied gender stereotypes to become an investigative journalist. Lorna is a university student and political activist in Sydney, under the scrutiny of ASIO.
It is when Zidra spots a man she has never seen before with an expensive camera photographing Lorna during an anti-war demonstration that she begins to unravel the story that she hopes will make her journalistic career. But several unexpected events threaten her ambitions and her happiness, as well as the welfare of those she loves.
‘A Distant Land is part-thriller, part-romance, and…I found myself engrossed in the drama of Zidra’s investigation into corruption in internal security and of the aftermath of Jim’sSouth-East Asian ordeal, all the way to the final page’ The Canberra Times