07 July 2008


by Sophie Cunningham

The Text Publishing Company. Adult Other, Australian. Paperback rrp $22.95

Geography is the story of Catherine. Catherine is in her late 30’s and unmarried. She has trouble with relationships and defines her life through the events of the world, from the day she was born (John F. Kennedy was killed, 22 November 1963) to returning from a Bali holiday with her brother, (Ash Wednesday in Victoria, 14 February 1983).

Catherine is a Melbourne travel agent and spends her life travelling the globe. But when she meets Michael, an expat who lives in Los Angeles, her world distorts into an unhealthy attraction to a man who lives a hemisphere away.

Every time she meets with Michael events happen - the Rodney King trials, Waco, the 1994 LA Earthquake, the 1996 New York Blizzard, the Thredbo disaster and Princess Diana’s death. Catherine believes these are signs about herself and her relationship with Michael.

She becomes obsessed and even though her friends tell her she is destroying her life, she can’t resist sending constant postcards, faxes, phone calls and emails. When he replies, it increases her resolution that they must be together. She travels the world hoping to meet up with him and renew their relationship. In his emails, Michael, tells her she is special but when they are together, after the sex, it doesn’t feel special at all.

After many years, she realises that her obsession with Michael is not the man, but the events that happen around her and her transglobal relationship.

Finally, a trip to Sri Lanka and India enables her to confront her actions and clear her thoughts. With the help of her new younger travelling companion, Ruby, she is able to eventually see what her life is all about.

This is a wonderful read. The countries were a distraction to the story and the events that occurred made me reminisce. Many of the places Catherine visits are described so well that many times I could actually visualise the place - the snow in New York, the serenity and peacefulness of India, the noise and tackiness of Los Angeles. I would now like to travel again and especially to Sri Lanka and India. How fantastic to recollect on events through travel. I would love to ride on that travelling magic carpet and Sophie Cunningham has shown me how without leaving my bed!

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