Narrative Transport. The official Michael Pryor website.

September13th

Tim Pegler

As my childhood memories become foggier and less reliable, there are several book moments that stand out from the murk.

The moment I discovered Herge’s The Red Sea Sharks (a graphic novel in a small rural library!) was like tripping over a gold nugget. The thrall induced by JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was such that I would climb high into a tree where I could read without interruption by younger siblings. Ian Fleming’s James Bond series was great fun. And John Wyndham’s novels (such as The Midwich Cuckoos & The Chrysalids) struck a chord that still resounds today.

But the book that shines brightest is Ivan Southall’s To The Wild Sky. This was a proudly Australian story and the first novel to utterly confound me by denying the usual happy-ever-after. The 11-year-old me was so gobsmacked that I wrote to the author seeking answers.

Ivan replied with a beautiful letter putting the onus on my imagination to complete the tale. That was the moment I first understood the magic an author has in their hands.

Many years later I met Ivan and he presented me with the sequel he’d reluctantly written for To The Wild Sky. I read it eagerly, feeling 11 all over again. And I laughed. The conclusion of A City Out of Sight is even more audacious than that of the prequel.  I like that a lot.

 

Tim Pegler’s most recent novel is Five Parts Dead (Text Publishing, 2010). Tim blogs at http://www.timpegler.com.au/blog/ and tweets via @timpegler.

 

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