The Book of Dirt

A recent trip to Melbourne saw me visiting The Avenue bookshop in Albert Park. I was looking for suggestions for my choice for bookclub. I ended up choosing The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser. 

A few lines before the story begins had me intrigued.

Within a few generations almost all
of us will have been forgotten. Those who
are not will have no bearing on how we are
remembered, who we once were. We will not
be there to protest, to correct. In the end we
might exist only as a prop in someone else's
story: a plot device, a golem.

It's got me thinking about my ancestors - those people who were most certainly forgotten before I or other members of my family began our research. People who we have rediscovered in census data, old baptismal records, convict records, newspaper articles, shipping records, letters, military records and much more. People who were born, married and died and left no other records to others who have left a plethora of data for us to discover. I hope none of them would want to protest about what I write about them.

Another few sentences in the book also got me thinking and remembering.

"We are all hoarders when it comes to the lives of those we loved..... I wanted my grandmother's card table on which she always kept boiled lollies hidden under a tea towel." p. 74-75

When my grandmother died I wanted her sifter. Almost on a weekly basis she made my brother and I little patty cakes perfectly iced with coconut on top. For our birthdays she made us the most wonderful chocolate cake which no matter how hard I try,  I have never been able to replicate. But at least when I use the sifter I remember my grandmother, Esme Eileen Moore (nee Merchant).

My grandmother's sifter - a little worse for wear.


  1. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    Thank you, Chris


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