Mark Brooker, a middle-aged art teacher, suffers the failure of an atrophied marriage and begins an affair with a young student teacher, Natalie, which alienates him from his teaching colleagues. He resigns from teaching and sets out on a personal odyssey to paint the landscape of the Pilbara. His artistic relationship to the landscape becomes the metaphor for his life and the environment in which he encounters his own mortality and sense of purpose. He travels to a remote community to learn the traditional use of pigments and incorporates what he has learned into his painting style.
When Natalie ends their relationship, Mark is traumatised by the loss. He wanders from his campsite, suffering dehydration, sunstroke and disorientation. His interest in the welfare of the dispossessed aboriginals of the town attracts the attention of some local rednecks who trash his campsite then burn his vehicle and paintings. He completes another, more inspired collection of paintings and returns to the city for an exhibition. He takes a young Aboriginal woman with him to help her begin a new life as a trainee teacher.
After a successful exhibition, Mark travels to Nepal on a trekking holiday to explore a different kind of landscape. He has a brief affair with a Dutch university student who is killed in a landslide. He lives for a time in Pokhara where he paints the mountain scenery. A casual encounter with a tourist turns to disaster when the woman stalks him and has him charged with assault. He spends time in a Kathmandu prison before the charge is upgraded to murder after the woman is found dead. The murder charge is eventually dropped, but his refusal to bribe police results in a vendetta. A visit to a brothel where he was offered and refused a thirteen year-old girl is used to fabricate a paedophile charge. While on bail, he escapes across the border into India.
After coming to the realisation that neither sex, nor painting, gave him complete satisfaction, he finds a Guru and devotes himself to meditation. He develops a platonic relationship with a young Indian woman before returning to Australia for the birth of his grandchild and an exhibition of his mountain paintings.
Q. Is Landscape an autobiographical novel?
A. No. A number of readers have asked me that question. They tell me the story has the immediacy of a personal memoir. This may be because I drew on the settings of my own life and some of the minor characters resemble people I have known.
The multiple settings of the story are directly from my life - the arid north west of Australia, the High School, the Nepal trek and various parts of India. Just as I teach my creative writing students, I try to recreate settings with which I am familiar then people them with my characters and let my characters live out their dramas in those settings.
Q. It sounds as if you have a particular approach to writing fiction. Is this the case?
A. Not really. I am very eclectic. I have written about my exploration of the craft of writing in How To Write And More Importantly How To Be A Writer.
|File size:||379 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Stephen Faulds is an English teacher at a Perth high school with many years experience teaching both English and Drama. He has written seven novels and published numerous poems, short stories and articles. He has written many short scripts, which have been performed by students at both primary and secondary level. His play Seatown was performed at The Blue Room theatre in 2007 and has been published by The Australian Script Centre. He has a web site featuring his writing, photography and artwork. He recently wrote a sequel to Seatown with the assistance of an ARTSWA writing grant. His work is featured on a web site at www.stephenfaulds.com which is archived at the State Library of WA Writer’s notebook http://stephenfaulds.wikispaces.com/