We are here to etch the faint name of England upon the dust.
Set in the early nineteenth century, Carrion Colony explores the beginnings of white Australia in the mythical colony of Old and New Bridgeford. As they adapt to life in this harsh and alien clime, officers and convicts are stretched beyond belief just to survive.
Among the characters are a doctor so terrified by the native flora, he is determined to eradicate it, a madman who has been isolated on a rock in the middle of the bay and a Governor who chooses to exercise his medical skills only when it suits, among other flawed and eccentric characters.
This is a colony where mayhem and violence are the norm, where there is nothing too far fetched to be considered a legitimate part – for everything in this colony is far fetched.
Richard King, winner of the 1995 Vogel Literary Award, exercises his skills as an absurdist writer. Unfortunately, he is perhaps too absurd, for in its efforts to be clever it becomes too clever for the average reader.
This is a novel where plot and character are pushed aside in the pursuit of art. Perhaps one needs to be finely schooled in the art of the absurd to truly enjoy it.
Carrion Colony, by Richard King
Allen & Unwin, 2002