Ant Dry has written the story of Jack Henning in rapid mode, not a day wasted and in the space of six weeks the story's told. However, the result is a book that will take more time than that to leave you.
Jack Henning is a post school national service recruit intent on living his life to the full. He is living in the midst of a brewing socio-political scenario that will create much bloodshed and chaos in the years to come and indeed still continues.
Yes, it is a rites of passage story it could almost be from the age of Boy's Own Journals, if it were not for the underlying, mostly denied, brutality and horror, of the black white tension.
So the reader sees the multi-layering in this story, for it is also an historical document, detailing the descent of an economically successful Rhodesian society into a turbulent Zimbabwe. Throughout the youthful narrative you see the loss, the grieving, and the brutality of an unendurable war with unimaginable consequences.
Ant writes clearly using language sparsely, in the manner of a barracks, all is in order and minimalist. This assists the reader to maintain a clear perception; perhaps this is an interesting cultural transference to the reader from the author, who in strong Rhodesian style maintains a 'cool head' throughout.
However you perceive it, the story is vastly more than a tale of derring-do. It is another world.
Ant Dry is a forceful writer.
BA Dip PT Monash
Presenter 'Writers at Work'
radio port phillip 3rpp
Melbourne February 2010
As the flames burned furiously, the body seemed to come alive. The fingers began to curl and turn white as the skin blistered and popped. Slowly the body began to sit up as the stomach muscles contracted in the heat. Read more about “Jack's War The Wasted Years”