' I still revere Stow as probably my favourite Australian writer.' – Tim Winton
'Randolph Stow's slim body of poetry weighs more than most oeuvres many times its size. It has few equals anywhere in the world. Groundbreaking, historic and essential, it is haunting, lyrical, mythical, spiritual and anchored in place.' – John Kinsella
Family stories are full of secrets. And the story we get to hear depends upon the teller. The big question is who gets to be the storyteller. Who gets to own the official version? Who is the trusted narrator?
As her mother Joan lies dying, Gabrielle Carey writes a letter to Joan's childhood friend, one of Australia's finest writers and poets, Randolph Stow. This letter sets in motion a literary pilgrimage that reveals long-buried family secrets.
Growing up in Western Australia, Stow achieved early literary success. But following a Miles Franklin Award win in 1958 for his novel To the Islands, he left for England and a life of self-imposed exile.
Living most of her life on the east coast, Gabrielle was estranged from her family's West Australian roots, but never questioned why. However when Gabrielle, a devoted fan of Stow's writing, becomes fascinated by his connection with her extended family, she embarks on a journey that will change her life forever.
With only a few pieces of correspondence to guide her, Gabrielle travels from the red-dirt landscape of Western Australia to the English seaside town of Harwich in a quest to understand her family's past and Stow's place in it. A descendant of the Fergusons, the family behind the famed Houghton's winery, Gabrielle discovers long-hidden secrets from her past. In her pursuit of Stow, she discovers her parents, and rejoins the family who had been lost to her for decades.
Moving Among Strangers is a celebration of one of Australia's most enigmatic and visionary writers and the enduring power of family.
Gabrielle Carey is the author of novels, biography, autobiography, essays, articles and short stories. She teaches writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, where her infatuation with Randolph Stow is happily tolerated. Her first book, Puberty Blues, co-written with Kathy Lette, has been adapted for film and television. Her most recent book was the memoir, Waiting Room (2009).