The Lucky Galah…
About the Book:
It’s 1969 and a remote coastal town in Western Australia is poised to play a pivotal part in the moon landing. Perched on the red dunes of its outskirts looms the great Dish: a relay for messages between Apollo 11 and Houston, Texas. Crouched around a single grainy set, radar technician Evan Johnson and his colleagues stare at the screen, transfixed, as Armstrong takes that first small step.
I was in my cage of course, unheard, underestimated, biscuit crumbs on my beak. But fate is a curious thing. For just as Evan Johnson’s story is about to end (and perhaps with a giant leap), my story prepares to take flight…
The Lucky Galah is a novel about fate. About Australia. About what it means to be human. It just happens to be narrated by a galah called Lucky.
It’s no great secret that I am a fan of overtly Australian novels, especially the ones set in small communities. I love the unique Aussie references and familiar slang, and what many often peg as cliché, I tend to adore. The Lucky Galah was a treat from beginning to end for me. A truly delightful slice of Aussie life from days gone by. Tracy Sorensen has done a splendid job of creating a trip down memory lane for all of the 60s, 70s and 80s children within us. There were so many moments of, “I remember those” and “I used to do that” and “when did they disappear?” – the nostalgia was ripe for the picking! And I loved that about this novel. It’s very character and lifestyle driven, and while it might have been low on action, it was rich in quaint detail and emotional depth.
The Lucky Galah is entirely unique. It’s narrated by a galah, so, that’s a given. Lucky has not always been all that lucky, and over the course of the novel, she tells the story of how she went from an unlucky start to her current lucky life. It’s funny, nostalgic, a little bit sad and always engaging, and right the way through, you are always conscious that it is a galah telling this story, not a person. Very clever on the part of Tracy Sorensen, to bequest upon a bird such a realistic personality. Lucky is a bit of a possessive galah with a jealous streak and a leaning towards vanity. She’s frustrated by her inability to vocalise all of her internal dialogue and longs to be ‘one of the girls’. She has a few compulsion issues, acts before she thinks, but she loves fiercely and is as smart as she is sassy. And she knows everything about everyone. Which is why her story is such an interesting one to behold.
The Lucky Galah is filled to the brim with social discourse, gossip, scandal, and a ground breaking world event, all playing out against a background of a society on the cusp of change. And of course, one pink and grey bird who has a yearning to tell a story at the helm of it all. Many threads are unravelled throughout the telling, but rest assured, they all tie neatly back together by the end. I think this is a wonderful novel, truly delightful and incredibly insightful. Human nature under a microscope with a running commentary from a galah – you can’t get more authentically Australian than that.
Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of The Lucky Galah for review.
About the Author:
Tracy Sorensen is a writer, filmmaker and academic. She was born in Brisbane, grew up in Carnarvon on the north coast of Western Australia and lived in and around Newtown, Sydney, for about 15 years. She now lives in Bathurst with her partner Steve and a black Labrador (Bertie). The Lucky Galah is her first novel.