David Foster, The Pure Land

Narelle Shaw
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Foster’s first novel

The Pure Land

is organised in four parts. Part One is set in the 1930s, in the Blue Mountains tourist town of Katoomba which is marked by dichotomes: it is “a European principality” “under the gums”. Progress is pitted against the scenery “which did not progress”. The protagonist, middle-aged Albert Manwaring, is a landscape photographer. Estranged from his wife, who heads to Bondi, “that other pole from Katoomba”, he “elop[es]” with his daughter Janet to the other side of the world, America. Symbolically, the movement is “from the relative purity of the antipodean high mountains” into what the novel sees as the future.

Part Two, developing the idea of translocation, takes us up to the 1960s. “Looked at from one viewpoint [America] was a

552 words

Citation: Shaw, Narelle. "The Pure Land". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 July 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7493, accessed 22 June 2024.]

7493 The Pure Land 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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