“Come to us,” Mrs St. James had said.
To seventeen-year-old Angus, alone, orphaned, restless, it is a tempting invitation. Talk of Hitler and war looms ominously in the air and Angus is bored with his dreary life in the city. Drawn by the fascination of the off-beat St. James family, he goes to live with them in the Blue Mountains.
At first he is delighted and awed by his new friends, but graduallly the glamour fades and reality exposes their individual flaws.
Over the years, the magnetism remains and it proves to be one from which he is unable, or unwilling, to escape.
Edens Lost is an engaging read, moreso than “Some Doves” and “Pythons”. It feels unbelievably archaic, even if it’s only a 50-year old story. The book is quite the matinee entertainment and that’s the problem. It’s old, which makes it feel disconnected with current readers.
Elliott was quite the creative writer, making his name through radio serials and even live TV drama. He knows how to do proper plot and dialogue, but this is a somewhat sad attempt at modernism. Elliott’s process of directing dialogue can be frustrating at times, making me feel like he doesn’t trust his dialogue.
Bea is the best part of the story, which is a hidden gem in a weird study of western chauvinism. It’s the type of story you read when there’s nothing else at hand.