David de Vaux
David de Vaux deems himself an intentional rolling stone. That he has been an almost lifelong expatriate and inveterate traveller may in part be attributed to his birth after World War II in a non-existent country described on his birth certificate as the British Army on the Rhine. The son of a British officer stationed variously on three continents, when he was nine years old and in need of a passport, he was discovered to be a bureaucratic anomaly, and citizen of nowhere. He acknowledges blood connections with John Gay, author of The Beggar’s Opera, and the novelist Graham Greene.
A decade later, having disappointed his family by failing to embrace the expected patriotic, military, class and Church traditions, he attended the University of London and later the Newcastle College of Advanced Education in Australia. Along the way, he found gratification in the disciplines of Economics, Political Science, English literature and the theatre, especially Shakespeare.
He’s travelled and lived in New Zealand, the Tongan Islands, India, England, the United States, as well as Far North Queensland where he put down roots and raised three remarkable children. He has worked in five countries, on the fringes of teaching, publishing, editing, arts funding, house building, activism, theatre and writing, has produced two collections of poetry and a handful of play scripts, and short fiction. He and his second wife now live in Portland, Oregon, keeping at least one toe in his beloved Queensland.
Cassowary Hill is his first novel.
Alfred was no fool, but I had noted that he generally took life slowly, avoiding sudden movements, though he was capable of astonishing speed on occasion. A fruitarian, he was rarely faced with the need for a quick response. However, another cassowary on his turf would have been annoying, and he’d momentarily forgotten his own often-observed reflection in my kitchen window. Most of us occasionally leap before we look, and conversely we can waver too long. A cassowary will tend towards the latter behaviour. …
As I parked outside my old workshop, I looked around at hundreds of reminders of a life shared for so long on this piece of an old farm. Where once were corn and potato fields were now outbuildings and gardens, exotic fruit trees, mature stands of eucalypts, melaleucas, grevilleas and banksias. …
But the track, if left unattended for too long, would disappear altogether as the foliage on either side put out its lateral growth; fallen trees formed barriers, sometimes with bulky living epiphytes still attached; neighbouring trees spawned suckers in the gaps between them, and inexorably the life on either side of the track conspired to fill the space in the middle and close out the light from above.
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