Sheep in the Valiant

April 1, 2011

An excerpt from a novel-in-progress, with the working title of Alfonso, set in Sydney between 1962 and 1972. The protagonist is a man from the northwest of Spain who migrates to Australia to escape poverty. When he arrives in Australia, he confronts language problems, homesickness, and isolation. He works as a carpenter and eventually buys a house in Surry Hills, unaware of the cost and commitment associated with old houses and feuding neighbours. When the house renovation is finished, he meets a woman and they fall in love, but the woman leaves for England. The story then traces his search for love; in the process, he finds a place to belong in his new country. More than a love story, this is a novel about the migrant experience, in which all that is known is forfeited in the search for material security.