ANZ LitLovers Review of Not the Same Sky

By Lisa Hill · ANZ LitLovers LitBlog · October 27, 2013

“The genius of this book is that the longest part of the story, bookended by Joy’s contemporary life and attitudes, seduces the reader into accepting the emigration as benign, a journey away from starvation and death, towards hope. Lulled by the movement of the ship across the oceans, the reader joins the girls’ journey and experiences it as peaceful, marked only by occasional storms. There are emotional storms too, but they are quickly suppressed and barely disrupt the inexorable voyage.

Charles Strutt is depicted as a humane and thoughtful man. The bureaucrats who organise the voyage have little sensitivity: they are problem solvers. The Australian colony needs women as wives and domestic servants, and Ireland has thousands of starving girls. The solution is obvious, and they organise it. Not the Same Sky reminds us again of the unwritten histories of our past and how memorials can at best only ever approximate what that past was like. The objects, documents, signage and yes, even the placement of a memorial can be an affront to the reality. Conlon, an Irish writer who’s spent a lot of time in Australia, has written a beautiful novel which made me think again about the choices curators make. And it’s added the Hyde Park Barracks Museum to my Sydney Bucket List as well: the Irish Orphan Girls exhibition closes on December 31st 2013.”

Author: Evelyn Conlon
Title: Not the Same Sky
Publisher: Wakefield Press, 2013
ISBN: 9781743052426
Source: Review copy courtesy of Wakefield Press.

Read the full review by Lisa Hill at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog…