Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 27, 2010

A Body of Water (1990), by Beverley Farmer

Beverley Farmer was the recipient in 2009 of the Patrick White Award for highly creative writers who have not received much recognition for their work.  This annual prize is funded by the winnings from Patrick White’s Nobel Prize award.

Even though Farmer won the NSW Premier’s Award for Milk in 1984, and The House in the Light was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin in 1996, it’s not easy to find her books.  Readings has only her Collected Stories in stock, so when I saw A Body of Water at the library I grabbed it, even though I have far too many books on-the-go at the moment.

Farmer’s writing is beautiful, but work is so demanding at the moment that I need something more relaxing to read at bedtime.  I’m too tired to concentrate and bring together the fragments of  journal, notebook, and poems which intersperse the short stories to show the ideas and influences which inform her work.  I think I’d be better off seeking out her novels, Alone (1980); The Seal Woman (1992) and The House in the Light (1995).

It wouldn’t be fair to this obviously very creative writer to write much more, and I really don’t think I could do better than Stephen Reynold’s review at Amazon.


I changed my mind about this book! Click here to see…

Author: Beverley Farmer
Title: A Body of Water, A Year’s Notebook
Publisher: University of Queensland, (UQP) 1990
ISBN: 0702222542
Source: Kingston Library


  1. I’ve been dipping into this book over the years as I bought it, I suppose, around the time it came out. But, it is a dipping into book I think, rather than one you just read straight through. (Oh and I’ve started Appo, but then realised that I had nominated a book for another group and that I should therefore read that first as discussion on it starts on March 1. Will get back to Appo, and then your review after that!)


  2. Yes, it’s a ‘dipping into’ sort of book, but my copy is from the library. I’ve renewed it so that hopefully I can make my way through it over the next three weeks, but (when I’ve recovered financially from some expensive paving works chez T&L) I’m going to see if Time Booksellers can get me a copy of my own, and the other Farmer novels too. I’ve just discovered Time Booksellers, a fantastic 2nd hand online bookshop just down the road in Frankston, and they offer a terrific service in finding OzLit treasures for me.


  3. […] night’s sleep makes!  This morning I woke up, picked up A Body of Water which last night I had declared too demanding for bedtime reading, became entranced by Farmer’s writing…and spent almost the whole day […]


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