Fly Away Peter Background

Fly Away Peter Background

Fly Away Peter is a book written by David Malouf in 1982. The book mainly revolves around the story of Jim Saddler who has an advanced understanding of the bird life of an estuary near his home. A man called Ashley Crowther inherits the farm which includes the estuary and he employs Jim to record the comings and goings of the birds in the estuary. The two form a strong bond and Jim also befreinds Imogen, an older woman who photographs the birds. However, World War 1 breaks out and Jim joins the army. Jim watches many of his friends die and eventually dies himself during an attack. Back in the farm, Imogen mourns his death and reflects on life.

The book was written by the author to explore how life may be experienced and enjoyed but circumstances change which ultimately result in a permanent change in life. Furthermore, the author wanted to display the reality and brutalities of war and the consequences it brings.The author also wanted to portray how even though loved ones are lost, life continues regardless of how meaningless and extensive it may be.

Fly Away Peter has been received well by both critics and fans. The Guardian describe the book as "simply brilliant and naturalistically told" and the Daily Telegraph commented "the novel of a poet without a single trace of overwriting". The book also won the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 1983 and has also been turned into an opera, with the first performance completed in 2015.

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