As Hitler’s war looms, famous Australian artist Roland Griffin returns home from London with his family to live a simple life of shared plums and low-cut lawns in the suburbs.
In the yard: a daughter, and a son, Hal, growing up with a preoccupied father who is always out in his shed stretching canvases and painting outback pubs. An isolated man obsessed with other people and places. Everything is a picture, a symbol. Even Hal, the boy in the boat, drifts through a strange world of Incredible Floridas.
As the years pass, Roland learns that Hal is unable to control his own thoughts, impulses, and behavior. The boy becomes the destroyer of the family. The neighborhood is enlisted to help Hal find a way forward. Child actor, a clocker at Cheltenham Racecourse, and an apprentice race caller. Incredible Floridas describes Hal’s attempts at adulthood, love, religion, and the hardest thing of all: gaining his father’s approval.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
Incredible indeed !!! The story unfolds in the Pennington and Cheltenham Racecourse area of Adelaide during the 1950s and unfolds very well. The author really captures the social attitudes and niceties of the time and especially the way neighbors in a suburban street would have likely interacted. The dialogue is excellent, giving added depth to all the characters and their struggles, including those colourful individuals whose idea of a law-abiding society was a little hazy.