This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wimmera fiction

The recently released novel "Wimmera" by Mark Brandi is largely set in the Stawell area with references to the Black Range & the Grampians, Barnes Street, the Overland train, Halls Gap with a football team.

It is peppered with late 1980’s social culture - Ita and the 'Women’s Weekly'; 'Spycatcher' (remember MI5 senior intelligence officer/spy Peter Wright’s autobiography and the ruckus it caused?); TV shows like 'Monkey Magic', 'Hey Hey It’s Saturday', 'Wonder Years', and the 'A-Team'; films like 'Witness' with Harrison Ford, and when there was only one 'Terminator' movie. 
The story begins in the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends. Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab's dad hits him or how the sudden death of Ben's next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid. Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, he looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab's dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives. Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can't ignore the past any more.
A foggy morning on the Wimmera River
Part one is told in 12 year old schoolboy Ben’s voice: long, hot days of camping, schoolyard bullying, sexual awakenings, a new neighbour and a sense of the ominous in the surrounding adult world.
Part two is told in Fab’s adult voice: at 28 years old and in the same town working in a shop, with dreams of better things, looking back while trying not to.
Part three is set in the present time, and unravels the full story after a body is found in the creek.

Originally from the Marche region in Italy, Mark Brandi grew up Italian in a rural Victorian town which influences much of his work. Mark graduated from a criminal justice degree and his career includes roles as a policy advisor and project officer in the Department of Justice, before changing direction and deciding to write.
"Wimmera" is his first novel, and won the British '2016 Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger award'.

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