In 1914, in the canefields of rthern New South Wales, the young men couldn't wait to set off for the adventure of war. The women coped as best as they could, raised the children, lived in fear of being the next to receive an official telegram. They grieved their dead, and came to learn that for returned men there are worse things than death in combat. They bore more children to replace those lost in the First World War, and the sons were just the right age to go off to the second. The Ghost at the Wedding is like other account of war, chronicling events from both sides - the horror of the battlefields and the women who were left at home. Shirley Walker's depictions of those battles - Gallipoli, the Western Front, the Kokoda Track - are grittily accurate, their reverberations haunting. Written with the emotional power of a vel, here is a true story whose sorrow is redeemed by astonishing beauty and strength of spirit.
After a long career as a lecturer in Australian literature at the University of New England, Shirley Walker is now an Honorary Fellow at the institution. She is a past President of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, the Founding Director of the Centre for Australian Language and Literature Studies at UNE, and the author of four books and numerous critical articles. She now lives on the far north coast of New South Wales, between the escarpment and the sea.
Shortlisted for Prime Minister's Literary Awards (Australia): Non-Fiction 2010.