Author gets in the mood
Mullumbimby-based author Laura Bloom has taken a journey back in time with her latest novel ‘In the Mood’ which is set in post-World War Two Sydney, and came away from it realising how good we have it today.
“This book is part of a series of novels I’m writing, each set in a different time in Australia,” Ms Bloom explained.
“It explores the relationships between men and women and how pressures from the outside world can shape them.”
The two main characters of ‘In the Mood’ are Robert and Catherine.
When Robert returns from war he has to deal with all the emotions and experiences he encountered in New Guinea, while his wife Catherine must get used to her ‘damaged’ husband and also the guilt she feels from an extra-marital affair while he was away.
“War and separation would have been huge pressures,” Ms Bloom said.
“Then, on top of that, women would have had to deal with giving up the jobs and independence they had while the men were at war, and going back to being housewives.”
Believing that only half a story was told of the struggles of post-war life to following generations, Ms Bloom wanted to explore what that era was really like.
“Men were encouraged not to talk about their feelings, so not a lot got told,” she said.
“By writing this novel I can explore the nostalgia surrounding the era.
“It is mostly inaccurate as it doesn’t truly explain the difficulties and adjustments that had to be made, so we don’t get to learn from the truth.
“I think it’s liberating to be truthful about what really happened.”
Ms Bloom researched the novel by visiting the War Memorial and listening to the oral history collection of many soldiers who did get to tell their story.
“There was one soldier who described a torture scene that he came across,” she said.
“And these acts would have been performed by both sides during the war.
“These things wouldn’t have been spoken about, so you can understand why so many ex-soldiers suffered post-traumatic stress.”
Other avenues of research for the novel included searching E-bay.
“I’d get on E-bay and look for period dresses to get the correct description of the types of clothes Catherine wears in the novel,” Ms Bloom laughed. “I also watched tonnes of movies and read lots of books.”
Ms Bloom has compared the time of the novel with the present-day and sees the advantages more clearly.
“While we live in such an anxious time today, we have come so far,” she said. “Our children don’t have to go to war.
“Despite a global financial crisis, this is nothing like the Depression, and women have the right to work.”
‘In the Mood’, named after the music of Glenn Miller and the big band era, is available through Penguin Books.