Set in 1940s Melbourne our intermediary, Connie, a socially marginal and observant little girl, takes in events both every day and sensational without full understanding.
The lack of communication between adult and child, except to reprimand, renders the adult world bemusing and untrustworthy. When Connie is innocent of wrongdoing, when she is bullied or even touched inappropriately she knows the futility of defending herself. She tries at times to defend others equally powerless in the prevailing narrow social structure.
At the same time, without iPad or iPod, or undue adult protection or interest in her private world, she is free to explore her neighbourhood and to develop her own imaginative world. Her chivalrous adventures as Lady Fuchsia sit oddly with the glowing neon girls of her dreams, who awaken in her a desire for a less insular, more glamorous life.
Easy to read and easy to dip into, Signs of Flight evokes a past when Australian suburban society pictures itself as a stable self-contained world, but at the same time the signs of its permeability are clearly visible.