Review Blog

Oct 16 2008

The View from Connor's Hill by Barry Heard

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Scribe Publications 2007
Louis Braille Audio. 2007 8 CDs 8 hrs
(Adult) Barry Heard, author of 'Well Done, Those Men', an account of his experiences in Vietnam, details minutely his boyhood in this memoir. From the Melbourne suburb of Ringwood, where he spent his preschool years, to Doctor's Flat, near Omeo in Victoria's High Country, he vividly recalls his life blow by blow. His amazing total recall provides clear images of rural life in the 50s and 60s. We visit country shows, deb balls, football matches, dates at the pictures, school days and exploring the bush with him. He writes endearingly of his horse Swanee and his sheepdog Rover, who could play hide and seek with children and whose death brought shearers to tears. There is plenty of quiet humour at his own and others foibles.

Mike Bishop captures Barry's voice well in these CDs but each episode in his life is so meticulously detailed that it becomes more of an historical record than a gripping autobiography. He describes rather than reflects on his experiences. Students needing to interview older people would find much material here; otherwise few students would bother with this. The narrative would need to move faster to sustain their interest. Barry's strength is his clear memories rather than his writing style. Here, he is well and truly 'heard'.
Kevyna Gardner

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