In the Shade of the Shady Tree is a collection of stories set in the Western Australian wheatbelt, a vast grain-growing area that ranges across the southwestern end of the immense Australian interior. Kinsella’s stories offer glimpses into the lives of the people who call this area home, as the reader journeys from just north of the town of Geraldton to the far eastern and southern shires of the region.
Cast against a backdrop of indigenous dispossession, settler migration, and the destructive impact of land-clearing and monocultural farming methods, the stories offer moments of connection with the inhabitants, ranging from the matter-of-fact to the bizarre and inexplicable. Something about the nature of the place wrestles with all human interactions and affects their outcomes. The land itself is a dominant character, with dust, gnarled scrubland, and the need for rain underpinning human endeavor. Inflected with both contemporary ideas of short fiction and the “everyman” tradition of Australian storytelling, this collection will introduce many readers to a new landscape and unforgettable characters.