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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780733635960

Price: £13.99

ON SALE: 31st October 2019

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

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Each chapter of this absorbing memoir explores a particular species of tree, layering description, anecdote, and natural history to tell the story of a scrap of forest in the Sunshine Coast hinterland – how the author came to be there and the ways it has shaped her life.

In many ways, it’s the story of a treechange, of escaping suburban Brisbane for a cottage on ten acres in search of a quiet life. Of establishing a writers retreat shortly before the Global Financial Crisis, and losing just about everything.

It is also the story of what the author found there: the literature of nature and her own path as a writer. Some of the nature writing that has been part of this journey is woven through the narrative arc. The Language of Trees is about connection to place as a white settler descendent, and trying to reconcile where the author grew up with where the author is now. It is her story of learning to be at home among trees, and the search for a language appropriate to describe that experience. That journey leads Inga to nature writing, to an environmental consciousness, to regenerating this place and, ultimately, to learning Gubbi Gubbi and Wiradjuri.

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delight to read for anyone enchanted by the hinterland's rainforest ridges and valleys that are fast being subsumed by suburbia up and down the coast.
Brisbane News
absorbing read
Marie Claire
This is the story of a tree change, from suburban Brisbane to a cottage e on 10 acres, but it's also a love letter to trees and living in the forest.
Australian Mother and Baby
To Come
Readers Digest
Her book is a delight.
Weekend Australian
To Come
Slow Magazine
...a controlled and literate work that earns its emotional peaks.
The Saturday paper
Country Update Magazine
Many people dream about making a 'tree change'. When Inga Simpson and her partner fell in love with 10 acres of bush in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, they succumbed to its allure without quite knowing just what they were taking on. They followed their hearts and purchased the adjoining block to set up their own writers' retreat business, threw in their jobs and went to work-only for the GFC (and other factors) to drop them into the hurtful depths of uncaring reality. There are plenty of these stories out there, but what makes this one worth the reader's time is the interweaving of natural science and personal story, description and reflection. Many chapters start with a particular tree found on the block-its growth and habitat, the fauna it supports and its human usage-before flowing into Simpson's life and labours. She learns to look, to see, and finally, to recognise not only the trees on her property, but also her own possibilities and strengths. While each of Simpson's novels has shown a strong connection to land and nature, this book allows her to expand her observations and concerns, and to preserve and celebrate her trees in words. It is a fine addition to the genre of Australian nature writing.
Lindy Jones, Bookseller + Publisher
Understory reads as a cautionary tale about the pitfalls - as well as the rewards - of striving to live simply.
Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday Age
'The novelist has written a memoir so imbued with her feelings for nature that it has brought a greater freedom in her fiction' + Article
Canberra Times, The Saturday Age