Where There's Smoke, by John Heffernan

‘A little old bushfire,’ Brian Smith continued. ‘Don’t get your knickers in a knot, mate. She’ll be right. The red steer’s been through here before, plenty of times. We know how to handle it. Don’t we, boys?’
A group of local men agreed loudly.
‘No, she not be right!’ Tiny shouted. ‘Not this time. You got it wrong. Already there is smoke in the air.’ He pointed at the sky. ‘What they say? Where’s there smoke…’

Luke and his Mum have been moving around for as long as Luke can remember, hiding from his violent father. In Edenville, though, Luke finally feels safe, and his mum is starting to build a new life, too. But the summer is hot and the bush is as dry as it’s ever been. Luke’s mate, old Tiny, is sure that disaster is coming, but the locals aren’t worried. They’ve seen fires before. It is up to Tiny and Luke to convince them that this time is different.

Where There’s Smoke examines two important topics – the effects of family violence and breakup, and the devastation that bushfire can wreak. Both are couched within the exploration of the way friendship and community can help both battle through tough times and heal afterwards.

Inspired by the Victorian bushfires of February 2009, Where There’s Smoke is an excellent offering.

Where There's Smoke

Where There’s Smoke, by John Heffernan
Omnibus, 2010

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