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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Verandah People/Bennett, Jonat/Paper/1551926490/S054-C2
In these powerful stories the "verandah people" are Jonathan Bennett's own compatriots: Australians for whom the ever present verandah is both stage and shelter, a retreat from hostile bushland or city street and a seductive barrier to participation in the wider world.
Bennett offers us extraordinary portraits of his characters, many of them dreamers and searchers. Also beautifully rendered is the disquieting, sometimes overwhelming, landscape. Bennett makes us feel the relentless heat of a cloudless day, smell overripe bush, witness the spectacle of a sudden coastal storm. While many of the characters are loosely connected to one another across stories, a subtle sense of loss pervades Verandah People. We feel compassion for Bennett's complex community of Australians, even as they longingly watch the world slip by from the "safety" of their verandahs.