One more month of winter. One more month of not going out without a jacket or coat. One more month of the heater on first thing in the morning and last thing at night. One more month of feeling the cold seep into your shoes from the concrete below. One more month of finding that slim scrap of sun to stand in outside. And of course, Melbourne being Melbourne, it is going to take longer than one month for spring to arrive – the seasons never follow the calendar.
Here are ten quotes from Australian novels which depict winter. In case you want to guess where they’re from, the title, author and date of publication are below.
1. Soon it began to rain but we kept walking, the rain only enough to dampen the outside of our coats while the inside stayed warm with the heat transmitted from our solars.
2. when the fire was well alight, we went in search of bigger sticks to feed it. under the bridge of never-forsaking we went. manny’s eyes lifted up to joey’s lettering and i saw questions in them that he did not speak. we dragged little logs back to the fire. my legs perfectly happy in their red pants. even in winter, watermelon warms the heart.
3. Rain splattered so hard on her windshield, it was as though someone was throwing buckets of water. It looked like a very determined, very wet and cold rain; the sort that would make her gasp.
4. Thunder pealed; a blade of lightning cut across the sky. Vik was shivering. Her feet were cold, she said. Dam water lapped over the lip of her bucket, into her boots.
5. Outside, sudden in the silence, rain started; one of those heavy downpours that drenched you to the bone.
6. The silver birches are bare, but it is sunny. Warm. The weather, it changes. There are warm days in winter and cold days in summer.
7. All the heavy wood gleamed in the late afternoon light coming in through the long window, which was open as always. Mother Seraphina believed that fresh air, even in autumn and winter, was important for keeping her students’ minds on the job.
8. She inspected the sky from the damp and dripping back verandah. It looked like there was a hint of sun. After tucking a folding umbrella into the pocket of her coat she set off.
9. The cold inside the house was seeping and heavy. Outside, there was also the wind, which blasted and stung relentlessly. My ears hurt, my eyes watered, and my fingers and toes went numb. None of my clothes were adequate; I soon learned to wear almost all of them at once.
10. This winter has been bitter – no doubt made more bitter by our winter coats having been turned inside out and restitched by me for the fourth year in a row.
It struck me that nearly all these quotes mention the weather in regard to a character. It is never just a description of the weather, but of how the weather makes a character feel, or how it affects his or her actions.
I’m off to put on another cardi! Which quote summed up winter for you?
- The eye of the sheep, Sofie Laguna, 2014
- The stars at oktober bend, Glenda Millard, 2016
- Big little lies, Liane Moriarty, 2014
- Anchor point, Alice Robinson, 2015
- The war bride, Pamela hart, 2016
- In the quiet, Eliza Henry Jones, 2015
- The convent, Maureen McCarthy, 2012
- The women’s pages, Debra Adelaide, 2015
- Hope Farm, Peggy Frew, 2015
- The broken book, Susan Johnson, 2004