Annah Faulkner, the author of Last Day in the Dynamite Factory, was previously shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award, which is Australia’s most prestigious award for stories of high literary merit presenting Australian life.
The main character is Christopher Bright, a successful conservation architect in his forties. Christopher is married and has two grown up children. Superficially, Chris’s life looks wonderful, but underneath things are more complicated. Chris was brought up by his aunt and her husband, after his mother was killed when he was a baby. After his aunt dies, Chris stumbles across a secret about his father which changes everything for him.
Chris loves Dianne, but finds his marriage unsatisfying, and feels unwanted by his wife, Dianne.
This book is full of family secrets, most of which I found to be predictable. I think the author used the saying, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,’ as inspiration for the plot, with Chris following in the footsteps of his father, particularly in his passion for a woman who is not his wife.
I kept hoping for more from Last Day in the Dynamite Factory, but never quite getting what I wanted, which is a bit like the relationship between Chris and Dianne. Nor did I get the strong sense of place I was hoping for from this novel though, which is set in Queensland and Melbourne.
I’m actually struggling to find anything more to say about the story. I almost stopped reading this book about half way through because I got bored, but finished because it was quite an easy read. I don’t even feel enough emotion about Last Day in the Dynamite Factory to write a cutting review, which, although not very kind, can be much more fun than reading a dull book.