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Description - Mr Wigg by Inga Simpson

It's the summer of 1971, not far from the stone-fruit capital of New South Wales, where Mr Wigg lives on what is left of his family farm. Mrs Wigg has been gone a few years now and he thinks about her every day. He misses his daughter, too, and wonders when he'll see her again. He spends his time working in the orchard, cooking and preserving his produce and, when it's on, watching the cricket. It's a full life. Things are changing though, with Australia and England playing a one-day match, and his new neighbours planting grapes for wine. His son is on at him to move into town but Mr Wigg has his fruit trees and his chooks to look after. His grandchildren visit often: to cook, eat and hear his stories. And there's a special project he has to finish ...It's a lot of work for an old man with shaking hands, but he'll give it a go, as he always has.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780733630194
ISBN-10: 0733630197
Format: Paperback
(209mm x 135mm x 23mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Hachette Australia
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publish Date: 25-Jun-2013
Country of Publication: Australia

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Book Reviews - Mr Wigg by Inga Simpson

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Book Review: Mr Wigg by Inga Simpson - Reviewed by (13 Apr 2014)

Mr Wigg is the first novel by Australian author, Inga Simpson. Beginning in the summer of 1970-71, it recounts a year in the life of a recently widowed elderly farmer, Mr Wigg. With his son forced to sell the family’s wheat farm, Mr Wigg retains the farmhouse, his wife’s rose garden, the vegetable patch and the orchard he has maintained throughout his married life. And despite urging by his son, he is determined to resist moving into town. Although he misses his wife terribly, Mr Wigg’s life goes on, and he spends his days tending his orchard, listening to the cricket, baking with his grandchildren and telling them wonderful stories. And watching as the land he once farmed becomes a vineyard. As Mr Wigg’s year progresses through the seasons, he harvests fruit, preserves and bottles, and looks back on his life with his wife and children, still bewildered by The Year That Everything Went Wrong and his estrangement from his daughter. It may seem that not much happens in the novel, but if the mild intrigue about what came before does not spur the reader on, then Mr Wigg’s interactions with his trees and his grandchildren, and his special project, will. Simpson carefully crafts her novel to gradually reveal her characters and plot. The feel of the seventies is firmly established by the mention of popular songs, sporting and world events. Simpson delights readers by having Mr Wigg attribute to his beloved fruit trees thoughts and feelings, emotions and attitudes, dialogue and movement so that, in short, these fruit trees have character. Simpson’s descriptive prose is beautiful (“Birdsong rushed to fill the space the night left behind”) and often mouth-watering (“Mr Wigg broke open the ripest of the fruit, crimson juice spraying up his wrist and onto his shirt. The seeds nestled in neat rows like damp jewels.“), so much so that latent or lapsed enthusiasts might well feel compelled to head for their preserving pans and pickle jars. Mr Wigg is a novel that stays with the reader well after turning the last page, as Simpson touches on issues both topical and historical: ageing and independence; the Vietnam War and conscription; the chain of inheritance; survivor guilt; grief and regret; doing so with intelligence, warmth and humour. There are many interesting tidbits on fruit, history and viticulture. Blacksmithing, quite a bit of cricket, exploding bottles of cider, pickles, ice cream, a fruit dryer and a marvellous fairy tale all feature. This delicious novel is an absolute pleasure to consume and fans will look forward to Simpson’s next novel, Nest.

Author Biography - Inga Simpson

Inga Simpson began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program and, as a result, Hachette Australia published her first novel, MR WIGG, in 2013. NEST, Inga's second novel, was published in 2014, before being longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize, and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Inga's third novel, the acclaimed Where the Trees Were, was published in 2016. Inga won the final Eric Rolls Prize for her nature writing and recently completed a second PhD, exploring the history of Australian nature writers. Inga's memoir about her love of Australian nature and life with trees, UNDERSTORY, will be published in June 2017.

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