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This peculiar, unique book really appealed to me, and when I finished, I considered starting it all over again It s a physically short book I don t know how many words , but the mix of short anecdotes, little stories and botanical information that pop up unexpectedly actually don t interrupt the flow of the main story, they add depth I m never going to remember all the interesting bits I WILL have to read it again someday.Disclaimer I have lived among the eucalypts of NSW for most of my a This peculiar, unique book really appealed to me, and when I finished, I considered starting it all over again It s a physically short book I don t know how many words , but the mix of short anecdotes, little stories and botanical information that pop up unexpectedly actually don t interrupt the flow of the main story, they add depth I m never going to remember all the interesting bits I WILL have to read it again someday.Disclaimer I have lived among the eucalypts of NSW for most of my adult life, so I m probably biased towards enjoying the discussion of various varieties, but I think I d have enjoyed a similar story by a writer this good that used English Oaks about which I know zilch A person meets thousands of different people across a lifetime, a woman thousands of different men, of all shades, and manyif she constantly passes through different parts of the world Even so, of the many different people a person on average meets it is rare for one to fit almost immediately in harmony and general interest For all the choices available the odds are enormous.The miracle is there to be grasped Murray Bail, Eucalyptus A person meets thousands of different people across a lifetime, a woman thousands of different men, of all shades, and manyif she constantly passes through different parts of the world Even so, of the many different people a person on average meets it is rare for one to fit almost immediately in harmony and general interest For all the choices available the odds are enormous.The miracle is there to be grasped Murray Bail, EucalyptusFrom Wikipedia Meaning of EUCALYPTUS Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae Along with other genera in the tribe Eucalypteae, they are commonly known as eucalypts My review.I would so like to rave about this book Why Because it has been sitting on my to read list for years And now I decided to get to it It was..frankly..one of my biggest letdowns..well..ever Not because of the quality of the book but because it was nothing like what I thought it would be To understand, see quote below I am Mealeger I belong to Atlanta.No That quote is not from this book That is from another book about Mythology It is about the story of Mealeger and Atalanta Without going into to much detail.they fell in love but Mealeger died Atalanta was devastated and refused to ever love another Her father was worried about this and eventually made a deal with her that she should marry the first man who could beat her in a foot race This was crazy be cause Atalanta was known as one of the fastest and nobody had ever beaten her at that.Now to this story..the description was of a father who decides to marry his growing daughter off to the man who knows the most about and can plant the most, Eucalyptus trees It seemed a fairy tale, a different spin on the Atalanta tale and I thought it sounded enchanting and sweet I was really looking forward to reading it.Well..I did not get a fairy tale In fact this was a DNF I just could not go on I was as so let down as this was nothing like what I thought I was getting.There is so much info on Eucalyptus trees It seems an ode, a love letter to those trees which is fine, just not what I had really wanted to read about When I stopped reading, the daughter, Emily was still a a young girl, running about free and sometimes naked and this was not whimsical or a Fairy Tale It was also slow moving, a bit dry and honestly I do not want to say anything bad about this book It was just so far away from what I d actually read and as I had been so looking forward to it , it was extremely disappointing.But if anyone knows of some takes on good Mythological stories that are charming and a bit magical, send em my way Nothing else, I guess Eucalyptus lives up to its title It s about a man whose wife dies while giving birth to their daughter The man collects the life insurance, moves to a small town in western New South Wales, and plants eucalypts lots of them Apparently there are over 200 specie of this plant Once his daughter is of a marriageable age he makes an Atalantan as in the golden apple race myth deal to marry her off to the first suitor who can name all the various eucalypts on his land That Nothing else, I guess Eucalyptus lives up to its title It s about a man whose wife dies while giving birth to their daughter The man collects the life insurance, moves to a small town in western New South Wales, and plants eucalypts lots of them Apparently there are over 200 specie of this plant Once his daughter is of a marriageable age he makes an Atalantan as in the golden apple race myth deal to marry her off to the first suitor who can name all the various eucalypts on his land That process is basically Act II of the book, and it s about as exciting as it sounds Oh, and each chapter is named for a specie of Eucalypt.This was ultimately a very frustrating book I mean I love eucalyptus trees about as much as a kola bear does But, we re talking a predictable plodding plot And, sexist oh honey, it s all that in a way that defies direct implication beautiful inactive frequently naked daughters, grotesque obsessive delinquently powerful men, arranged marriages, little snipes here and there like in speaking of the outback let s not forget the isolation, the exhausted shapeless women which as a hiccup might almost appear benign but consolidated turns into this constant goat getting action, etc What s truly maddening is that Murray Bail is a capable writer He has a great ear for tone and a masterful ability with sentences Sentences This is the tragedy of the sentence In other words, I feel like I m circling a beef with, like, sentences critically, and I suppose it is this when all else fails theme, conscience, geometry, plot as readers, we fall back on the sentence If the writer can lay down an inviting sentence we tend toward trust The problem is great sentences have been called on to propound dreadful stuff There s a tangle that results between sentence as sign and sentence as signifier or something along those lines See, the Noun Verb Object trick can actually wind up implicating writer and reader both in as far as they become complicit with said sentence s nefarious values I don t know I suppose I m only saying this a series of great sentences cannot be an end in itself somewhere along the line ethics slips in, and in the absence of their careful weight even the best grammatical clauses fall to pieces If ya need an example, check these Bail isms out It may not be exaggerated to say that the formidable instinct in men to measure, which is often mistaken for pessimism, is counterbalanced by the unfolding optimism of women, which is nothing less than life itself their endless trump card It is shown in miniature by the reverence women have for flowers, at its most concentrated when they look up and in recognition of their natural affinity accept flowers Lovely sentences, rotten meaningless ideas Jan 2015 I ve recently read this for the third time and relished the opportunity to slow down and enjoy Bail s language, and the slow and intricate windings of the multiple stories which make up this treasure of a book.The main narrative line is a clever and gentle adaptation of a traditional folk tale form transformed in its relocation to an isolated Australian farm The seemingly impossible quest set by a father for suitors of his daughter is to name all the Eucalyptus trees he has planted on Jan 2015 I ve recently read this for the third time and relished the opportunity to slow down and enjoy Bail s language, and the slow and intricate windings of the multiple stories which make up this treasure of a book.The main narrative line is a clever and gentle adaptation of a traditional folk tale form transformed in its relocation to an isolated Australian farm The seemingly impossible quest set by a father for suitors of his daughter is to name all the Eucalyptus trees he has planted on his property Unwelcome suitors arrive and fail No heads lost, they are just sent packing.All the while, the unassuming eventual winner is present, and sets out to woo the daughter herself rather than the father by telling stories inspired by the trees Very nicely, I thought, the father has previously warned his beautiful daughter to beware of any man who deliberately tells a story it s worth asking, when a man starts concocting a story in front of you Why is he telling it What does he want pp52 53 When the stranger appears and starts to tell stories, they are so unlike anything Ellen has heard before that she is entranced The stranger s stories are all inspired by the eucalyptus trees, their names ironbark, bloodwood, fuchsia gum , their flowers, the shapes of their leaves and their habit drooping weeping, upright, a guard or sentinel Ellen took little notice of the eucalypts behind the stories she allowed the world, which was his and far beyond, to come to her His roundabout way of telling one story after another depended on imagination and a breadth of experience, and meant he was spending hours with her and her alone, revealing a little of himself at a time only to disappear whenever he felt like it Sometimes with just a brief wave To be then left surrounded by nothing but grey trunks, and a near absence of anything stirring, added a scratchy, unsatisfied quality to the silence Eucalypts are notorious for giving off an inhospitable, unsympathetic air.p159.But as the determined, unwanted suitor approved of by her father nears the end of his task, Ellen becomes overwhelmed with an elaborate, flowing looseness and turns to her bed lies there for days, gradually fading She turns over the stories told her by the still unnamed stranger The way the stories began in a time worn way had relaxed her There was an old woman who lived at the foot of a dark mountain The quality of miracles has declined over the years Off the coast of Victoria was a wife of a lighthouse keeper who became addicted to kite flying p219.The stories are elaborate, elliptical, unexpected in their twists and turns Ellen sees that Many were about daughters or women almost requiring a man for themselves A woman finds a man and something unfortunate happens It doesn t last There were certainlystories about women than men, she could see It wasn t necessary to count them up A daughter can never become a separate woman, not really Fathers had strong and impassive positions in the world of stories too Many of his stories concerned a father, or how he s clean forgotten his daughter, thereby introducing a note of real sadness The women seemed to be searching or waiting for something else, something almost indefinable but extra nevertheless, such as a solution somewhere else or with someone, she at once saw and recognised These were women who followed the idea of hope It seems to be their greatest obedience None of the stories is conventional Some are poignant, some simultaneously unhappy and funny the couple who dislike each other, and speak to each other only through their dog Some are about women trapped in a situation they wish to escape, and sometimes a means of escape is offered They are integral to the progress of the central story, the story of Ellen, her father and the suitors.Michael Hulse in the Spectator called Eucalyptus a masterpiece Of the other review comments I have read, this comment from the Judging Panel of the Miles Franklin Literary Award is beautifully succinct In his characteristically elegant and deceptively sparse manner, Bail demonstrates the importance of narratives, of story telling, as a way of acquiring and learning about one s self and one s place It reconstitutes traditional romance conventions the father setting an impossible task for those who would win the hand of his daughter and rewrites them for Australia, so that it is simultaneously local and universal in its orientation Eucalyptus won the 1999 Miles Franklin, which is Australia s major annual literary award Eucalyptus is a fairy tale and contains all the elements you would expect in a fairy tale, recast in a rural Australian setting there s mythical beauty, a princess trapped in her castle, suitors from distant lands and an enchanted forest Whether it s the Australian setting or Bail s cleverly created characters, the story comes across as wholly believable which in itself is magical Each chapter is named after a species of eucalypt and includes a string of short, intricate and seemingly inco Eucalyptus is a fairy tale and contains all the elements you would expect in a fairy tale, recast in a rural Australian setting there s mythical beauty, a princess trapped in her castle, suitors from distant lands and an enchanted forest Whether it s the Australian setting or Bail s cleverly created characters, the story comes across as wholly believable which in itself is magical Each chapter is named after a species of eucalypt and includes a string of short, intricate and seemingly inconsequential stories which link to varying degrees to the name, characteristics or habitat of particular eucalypt species The stories are told from the point of view of different characters achieved most successfully through the character known only as the stranger His stories begin with enticing opening lines such as Off the coast of Victoria was a wife of a lighthouse keeper who became addicted to kite flying How can you not keep reading when presented with that Any book that truly finishes on the very last page in a way that is so unexpected, so surprising and so intensely satisfying, wins me I did not see where the story was heading until the last page and I closed the book smiling and amazed at the cleverness of the conclusion.See my full review here This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here After getting a hefty insurance cheque because he wagered his wife would have twins one is still born , Holland buys an almost treeless property in western New South Wales His wife has passed away he has only his little girl, Ellen He s no farmer He starts planting eucalyptus trees on the farm and it soon turns into a hobby, then an obsession Holland, son of a baker and a boiled lolly maker, becomes a leading expert in the field , and has managed to get a specimen of all the species, and After getting a hefty insurance cheque because he wagered his wife would have twins one is still born , Holland buys an almost treeless property in western New South Wales His wife has passed away he has only his little girl, Ellen He s no farmer He starts planting eucalyptus trees on the farm and it soon turns into a hobby, then an obsession Holland, son of a baker and a boiled lolly maker, becomes a leading expert in the field , and has managed to get a specimen of all the species, and got them to grow As Ellen grows up, she becomes stunningly beautiful, her face speckled with freckles, moles, so that the eye wanders all over She getsandattention from the lads in town, until Holland makes a decision The man who can name every tree on the property will win his daughter s hand in marriage.So begins an amusing charade of suitors failing to get past the first few trees, up until Mr Cave, who names them all Meanwhile, an unnamed man courts Ellen amongst the trees with stories woven in and inspired by the names of the different trees, and in doing so names them all before Mr Cave.This is a book of stories within stories, as well as snippets of information, facts, history, and cultural conundrums One of my favourite stories is about the green grocer in Carlton who makes pictures out of fruit to attract the attention of a pretty but vain woman A lot of the stories have connections to people in the town some made up, some maybe not and it s almost like a puzzle to figure them out.Ellen is a slightly disappointing character, almost as if Bail doesn t know how to write female characters, or doens t understand them enough to really flesh them out The men were so neatly, perfectly described with some simple brush strokes, the short comings in Ellen were made noticeable by comparison The ending, too, was not quite as satisfying as it could have been, though it works and fits with the rest of the book.It is set some time after the Second World War, I think in the 40s or 50s though it doesn t actually say, and so can get away with the main concept, plus some others I don t think this story could be transferred so well into our current time One of theprovoking scenes is where Ellen, coming upon her only tree, E Maidenii, she finds a nail driven into the trunk You can guess her feelings there Then she hears Mr Cave and her father approaching, and hides, only to see them start pissing against the trunk of her tree Great imagery and symbolism there I love this book, regardless of any flaws It will forever be one of my utmost favourites But not everyone gets what I get out of it, so I feel the need for a personal kind of context.I never truly appreciated my native country until I started studying some of our literature at uni I did two courses focusing on Australian literature, and by the time I graduated for the second time, as these things are done there at the end of 2001, I was in hopelessly, helplessly, head over heels in gut clenching love with the land When, the following year, I left and went to Japan to teach English for nearly three years, I would suddenly smell the shearing shed on my parents farm, in the middle of the supermarket My boss tells me, whenever I mention smelling something that isn t there that I probably have a brain tumour I call him an alarmist I missed the smell of Australia so much, the smell of the land, where all the trees, the plants, the grass, the soil, has such a distinct smell In Japan, nothing smelt, which means you can smell 3 day old exhaust fumes, the grime coating the walls of buildings, the smell of ramen and yakiniku and, strangely, snow but never the trees or plants, because they didn t smell My first cherry blossom time, I went up to a tree and sniffed the blossoms, expecting the same sweet scent as my mother s specimen in her big, beautiful garden Nothing I was supremely disappointed.I recommended Eucalyptus to my book club and, almost unanimously, they agreed on it I hadn t read it in several years, but it all came back as I delved in onceThe trees are my favourite characters Skimming through the reviews on , written by Americans mostly, I noticed they all said yes it uses trees as a tool to construct the stories, but that s not important and trees don t interest me, but that s not what this is about I m paraphrasing here, don t hit me I beg to differ The trees are everything in Eucalyptus You could almost say it s a book about trees disguised as a fairy tale, but I don t think that s the case either The trees figure prominently, as characters not as background All the different species, described not just visually but with personality too The gum trees are described as selfish, offering little shade, and unsympathetic After reading that the first time, I saw eucalypts in a whole new way In the midlands of Tasmania, which you drive through to get to Hobart from the north where my parents farm is, you can see a quite unique, oddly disturbing but very memorable scene round, hilly, very yellow, dry farmland, bare but for the grey skeletons of eucalypts, their silvery arms reaching out like a scarecrow, completely leafless As a child, this view disturbed me, and I still don t know if the Midlands has always been like that or if it is the resutl of excessive farming, as in so many other places I suspect the latter In it s own way, it is stunning, beautiful, the stark colours, the dead trees still standing like grave markers, their branches lined with large crows and magpies and kookaburras The dusty yellow grass, like a dry carpet, cropped short by sheep.The book is full of beautiful imagery, using words to tell multiple layers of a story, like bark on a tree I was so surprised and disappointed to find that the people in the bookclub didn t like it and were confused, thinking that Australia was just desert They had no idea there were trees, bush forest and even grass For me, I can smell Australia when I read this book not just the country, but the suburbs of Sydney and other places I am transported home by this book 2 hour trip to botanical gardens fun and interesting 200 page book about every eucalyptus known to man dreadful.woman allowing father to marry her off to stranger who wins an insufferable tree naming contest in a fairy tale quaint.in modern society substantially irritating. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here There s a very fairy tale like quality about this book that I liked a lot, and the very Australian flavor of the narration made it a highly unusual read for me as well I have some issues with the passivity of the heroine which isn t a terribly surprising thing given the heavy fairy tale flavor of the story , but found it a worthwhile read anyway.This novel s all about how a man named Holland in Australia has planted hundreds of species of eucalyptus trees on his ranch, and how he proclaims tha There s a very fairy tale like quality about this book that I liked a lot, and the very Australian flavor of the narration made it a highly unusual read for me as well I have some issues with the passivity of the heroine which isn t a terribly surprising thing given the heavy fairy tale flavor of the story , but found it a worthwhile read anyway.This novel s all about how a man named Holland in Australia has planted hundreds of species of eucalyptus trees on his ranch, and how he proclaims that the man who names them all will win the hand of Ellen, his beautiful daughter Very definitely a fairy tale sort of task, and with that laying the groundwork for the plot, we get several other things you d expect in a fairy tale as well the remote location, the nearby tiny village, dozens of dauntless suitors who fall by the wayside, a challenger at last who Ellen does not want and who breezes through the task as if he were born to it And of course we have a mysterious wanderer, who captures Ellen s heart by spinning her dozens of stories, and whose disappearance sends Ellen spiraling into a decline until he finally returns at the end to prove himself victorious over her father s challenge.All very nice, and overall I really had only two small issues with the story One was that sometimes the narration was too self aware, making comments about paragraphs and full stops and such While it was generally to make a point about something going on in the story, such as comparing paragraphs to paddocks,often than not it came across to me as too roundabout At least twice, it made me think for fuck s sake, get on with it And I m generally a very patient reader.Now that said, it did indeed eventually Get On With It, and I also acknowledge that there was a certain art and style to Bail s prose that I do have to appreciate It fit in with the whole idea of Telling a Story, an art which he clearly loves, since the hero of this tale was himself a storyteller Telling stories orally is an art in and of itself, even separate from telling them in the written word, and Bail blended them well here It helped me a lot, I think, to start imagining the voice of the narrator with an Australian accent, and suddenly the rhythm of the words started coming together for me.My other quibble was with Ellen, who had a passivity about her that irritated me Sure, this is kind of classic when you re dealing with fairy tales certainly Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and even my beloved Rapunzel don t do much to uphold the virtues of feminine spine And sure, the setting of the story, fairly modern though it came across, had a sort of timeless quality about it that seemed to encourage the fairy tale tropes But not once did Ellen ever actually object to her father s scheme of marrying her off to a man who could name all of his trees Not once did she actually vocalize any objections to Cave, the challenger who systematically worked his way through the entire plantation, rattling off the names of the trees and proceeding closer and closer to the prize her Instead of actually telling her father, Look, Dad, about this whole marriage thing I actually really like this guy I ve been talking to out in the trees, instead of telling anybody anything, she just lays down and pines herself sick Very classic fairy tale princess behavior But to me, a modern feminist inclined reader, irritating nonetheless.There are remarks made here and there all throughout the story about how Holland is rud to have his daughter locked up , but really, he s done nothing of the kind Ellen s movements aren t constrained, and Holland in his way comes across as a father who s just anxious to make sure that if he has to hand off his daughter to anybody, it ll be to a man he can respect I just wish that once Ellen would have asserted herself, because while I wanted to like her, I didn t respect her.Now as to stuff I really, really liked the Storyteller we never get his name was very, very cool I loved how he wove stories to capture Ellen s fancy, and I loved the way he wandered in and out of them, sometimes leaving off just when your attention is hooked and you re anxious to know what the hell happens next I liked his interactions with Ellen even when he wasn t actively telling a story as well, and I especially liked the scene where he comes across her naked, and very solemnly, very respectfully helps her back into her clothes Every word in that scene was charged with tension, and the beauty of it is that at no point does Bail ever come right out and say that our boy would really rather be taking Ellen s clothes off of her It doesn t need to be said The words chosen to describe his actions convey that beautifully.And I did not see it coming that he actually won the challenge before Cave did because he was the one who brought all the nameplates for the trees to the plantation I loved that And I loved that the Sprunt sisters fancifully referred to in passing as witches , adding to the fairy tale nature of the story clued him in about where Ellen would be likely to wander, and that he went looking for Ellen to win her directly rather than going to her father first.Even aside from the limp dishrag of a heroine, I m glad I read this book just to enjoy Murray Bail s prose, very full of character, and very much an example of the art of telling a Story There go those blurbs again, tricking me into thinking that I could actually enjoy the bookBest courtship story , it saidNew York Times Notable Book of the Year , it said.Holland acquires a land, and then eventually becomes obsessed with planting eucalyptus trees in it His daughter, Ellen, grows up to be a beauty, and he decides he will let the man who can name all species of eucalypti in his land marry his daughter Dozens of suitors tried to no avail Until Ellen meets a mysterious man u There go those blurbs again, tricking me into thinking that I could actually enjoy the bookBest courtship story , it saidNew York Times Notable Book of the Year , it said.Holland acquires a land, and then eventually becomes obsessed with planting eucalyptus trees in it His daughter, Ellen, grows up to be a beauty, and he decides he will let the man who can name all species of eucalypti in his land marry his daughter Dozens of suitors tried to no avail Until Ellen meets a mysterious man under a eucalyptus tree, who proceeds to tell her stories and thus, a curious courtship begins Sounds like a fairy tale to me, and boy do I love fairy tales.That s not what I got Maybe I could have enjoyed the courtship story, if I weren t being constantly bombarded with facts and passages about eucalypti, which I ve never seen in my life It s a story with lots of stories in it, and sometimes the author steps out of line and discusses the book itself I just couldn t like the writing style I just wanted to know what the courtship was So I skimmed through the pages and gathered that This book literally is about eucalyptus Murray Bail writes like an old man who writes for old men, which I guess he is, I finally met the mysterious man young man, the synopsis said, but he s really into his 30s seriously, that s a young man , who I think remains unnamed until the end of the book The man tells stories to Ellen that are inspired by the species of eucalyptus he happens to see, thus naming all eucalypti and winning Ellen s hand in marriage.It would ve been such a good love story if only it weren t written the way it is Severe frustration `Download ☟ Eucalyptus ↳ The gruff widower Holland has two possessions he cherishes above all others his sprawling property of eucalyptus trees and his ravishingly beautiful daughter, Ellen When Ellen turns nineteen Holland makes an announcement she may marry only the man who can correctly name the species of each of the hundreds of gum trees on his property Ellen is uninterested in the many suitors who arrive from around the world, until one afternoon she chances on a strange, handsome young man resting under a Coolibah tree In the days that follow, he spins dozens of tales set in cities, deserts, and faraway countries As the contest draws to a close, Ellen and the stranger s meetings become erotic, the stories urgent Murray Bail s rich narrative is filled with unexpected wisdom about art, feminine beauty, landscape, and languageEucalyptus is a shimmering love story that affirms the beguiling power of storytelling itself