Review: Vanessa Page’s ‘Tourniquet’, by Jena Woodhouse

Jena Woodhouse at ‘foam:e

The heartland of Tourniquet lies in the haunted, haunting terrain of its unsettled and unsettling topographies, including the body. As unsparing and unflinching in her gaze as the outback light, Vanessa Page has a sure grasp of her subjects and the poetic forms that can best accommodate them. In bringing a female gaze and sensibility to bear on the badlands and wastelands of personal relationships and landscapes, especially the marginal terrain of small, isolated settlements, and in seeking out the redemptive possibilities of reconnecting with body and spirit in physical encounters with country, she has generated some powerful poetry.

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Heather Rose: ‘When I get lost in my imagination I don’t feel the pain’

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, ‘The Guardian’, 7th October 2017

For her new novel, Bruny, Rose turns her attention to the Tasmanian island of the same name where she holidayed growing up and where she took her children camping and to the beach, just a short ferry ride from her home in Hobart.

“As a child it was always so captivating: you drive on, then you cross the channel and it always felt like going to another world,” she says. “And it was even more remote and even less populated. I think the silence down there really gets to me: there’s no traffic. You can almost hear the stars it’s so quiet.”

Bruny, however, is not a quiet novel; it is about explosions and warring political families and conflict. In it, America has an isolationist president; China has become a formidable world power; and Islamic State rules an expanding caliphate. What’s more, the Chinese and Tasmanian governments have invested in a new project, a $2bn bridge connecting Bruny Island to the mainland. The novel opens with a terrorist attack: the bridge has been blown up.

Cover image for Bruny by Heather Rose
 Photograph: Allen & Unwin

More at The Guardian