Bassett, Jan, 1953-

The facing island : a personal history / Jan Bassett. - Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne University Press, 2002. - 177 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Includes personal reminiscences of the author, together with her experiences as she undergoes treatment for cancer, along with correspondence between her maternal grandmother and a New Zealand soldier serving in France in the First World War. "In 1916 a young man called Wilson Tong enlisted in New Zealand. Soon after his troop ship sailed for Egypt, Signaller Tong placed a message in a bottle and dropped it into the sea. It washed up on a beach on Phillip Island, where a young woman called Edie Harris - Jan Bassett's maternal grandmother - picked it up. Thus began a correspondence that Edie treasured for the rest of her life." "After Edie's death in 1966, Jan Bassett discovered the box containing Wilson Tong's brave and spirited letters from the battlefields of France. Decades later, at a time of devastating personal crisis, she used them as a springboard for this imaginative and moving memoir." "In The Facing Island, each of Wilson's long-lost letters to Edie is followed by a contemporary, meditative letter from Jan herself to her beloved Nana. As we read, links and parallels emerge between the young man living with the fear of death in the trenches and the woman, eighty years later, facing her own premature death from breast cancer." "In her own 'letters', Jan reflects on her life - particularly her childhood on Phillip Island - and her own confrontation with mortality. Her story is courageous and moving, while the young man's letters stoically convey the adventure and horror of war."--BOOK JACKET.


Bassett, Jan, 1953-

World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives, New Zealand.

907.202 907.202