A Body of Water
Beverley Farmer


Paperback | Oct 2020 | Giramondo Publishing | 9781925818253 | 336pp | 210x148mm | GEN | AUD$29.95, NZD$34.99

A new edition of Beverley Farmer's out-of-print classic A Body of Water, which in its mixing of genres — essay, memoir, fiction, folk tale — opened up new frontiers for Australian literature

A Body of Water was first published thirty years ago. The writing of the book takes place over a year, and portrays a complete cycle in the writer's life. It begins on her forty-sixth birthday, in a period of emotional inhibition and loneliness – her marriage has broken down, and she is living on her own. By the end of the cycle the narrator has written short stories and poems, which are included in the book, alongside essays about the writing process, journal entries, excerpts from books she has been reading, spiritual meditations, and finely detailed observations of the life around her.

The title A Body of Water could be taken to refer to the book's settings along the Bellarine Peninsula in southern Victoria, with its bays, the outer harbour, and the lighthouse, standing like a sentinel at the entrance to the ocean. It also suggests the diverse material which fills the book, like a body of water with all that it contains and nurtures. Throughout, one is aware of the the writer's own body, as an entity which shifts its identity like water, with its changes of mood, relationships and reflections.

'Beverley Farmer's expansive curiosity and appreciation for microcosmic significance sharpen a reader's attention to all things lived, dreamed, and observed.' — Josephine Rowe

'A bold and beautiful, genre-defying book, weaving together process and product, reflections on reading and the luminous moments of everyday life into a work that shimmers with allusion, insight and charm. It remains as striking and important a book now as it was in its original context.' — Fiona Wright