Olive's bunker : a novel

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2006
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- Olive's Bunker is an exploration of memory, identity, grief and love as told by three women. It is a story about the everyday domestic intimacies that take place within and between the grand narratives that scar and mark history. It is a gentle re-imagining of ordinary lives that constitute Australian values and identity. It is an attempt to reclaim what has been lost through a process of erasure. By erasure I mean that history is a reflection of the hegemonic, it re-inscribes dominant discourses and relegates, removes, rewrites - ultimately erases the Other. I had to search for my identity through the pages of histories. I traced crumbs from Plato to Patrick White in an attempt to pastiche a sense of who I am. What I did discover was that I lived in subtext. I was between things - the interstitial, the guessed at, the eluded to, the erased - that left a trace of shadow behind. A fierce heteronormative rendering of identity moves forward unchecked, unabashed and constitutionally sanctioned. What remains of the Other after this act of erasure, is silence, is the discourse of absence. Olive 's Bunker contests this cultural and historical amputation by offering insight into the lives of people who have been removed from the pages of our social history. Olive's Bunker is also about my grandmother. My partner and I spent most weekends over a two-year period visiting with her as she succumbed to the rickets of age, as her mind and body lost its fight against dementia. During this time as she shrank from the world, this most remarkable woman released many hidden stories of her life. These stories stuck to me and would not leave. My love for her, my wish to pay homage to her life, created the energy required to embark on this process. I took those stories, reshaped them, used them to re-imagine history and at the same time honour her life. It has been necessary.
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