Coast, The

Limprecht, Eleanor

  7 Reviews

With its picturesque beaches and cliffs, Little Bay in Sydney should have been idyllic, but not so for the patients admitted to its Coast Hospital who do not have the option to leave. When Alice is nine she arrives at the enclave to be reunited with her mother and to begin her life in perpetual quarantine, courtesy of the Leprosy Act of 1890.

This is the story of the leper colony, focusing on Alice and her mother Clea, Guy, a returned WWI soldier, one of the stolen generation, and Will, a doctor assigned to the lazaret. Comprehensively researched and told with compassion, this is a compelling story of love and endurance amidst the stigma and discrimination of early 20th century Australia.



TAUR 059
Excellent depiction, if a little distressing, of multiple social issues. The main being leprosy that was graphically described but also the Aboriginal Protection Act, mixed race relationships, gay relationships, poverty in rural Australia. Some felt too many strands but all felt moving and well-written. Although the name changes and back & forth in time confused some, most found it an easy read. All agreed the description of the island, scenery, cottages were excellent and made picturing the setting easy. Interesting discussion on whether peoples prejudices and attitudes have changed much.
We all found, particularly in the early chapters, that it was quite confusing trying to keep track of the characters, made worse because of the name changes enforced by the Lazaret rules. However we warmed to the story, and thought it was quite well told and a valuable insight into both the attitudes to the indigenous people, and also towards people with Hansen's Disease. Some of us liked how the author wove in several strands of commentary on customs, and also the history of the times...
WINT 002
Really interesting history - an easy read. Enjoyed by all.
TAUR 062
We found this book interesting, very educational and readable. Some found switching between characters difficult especially as it was not always in chronological order, and it didn't always flow. Some loved it, but others really didn't enjoy it much at all.
All the group found the book very interesting because of the history of leprosy treatment; all very disturbed at the treatment of Aboriginal people. The stories were well integrated and the writing style was easy to read. The name changes and relating back to Dulcie and Jo, then going forward, was a bit confusing. Sad but had bright spots. A memorable read.
We surprised ourselves by finding much to enjoy in this novel. It deals with very difficult issues - the treatment of people with leprosy (now known as Hansen's disease), the treatment of Aborigine people , and the grinding poverty of many rural people in early 20th century Australia - but it also creates interesting and sympathetic characters who live their lives as best they can in their situation. Eleanor Limprecht writes very well.
MAST 003
We all found this book very interesting - an aspect of history we had been quite ignorant about. Great characters and lots of thoughtful themes.