Synopsis of 'TUFT '
- or ' Plum Puddings and Blackfellow's Bread'
- a novel by Wayne David Knoll © Copyright 1996
This is something of a rite-of-passage novel about Jasper Tuft, a boy who grows up in the riches of nature, knowing the names of plants, birds, animals and insects as if they were family.
Jasper lives in a wide network of family among immigrant and pioneering rural stock, full of tough beliefs and the old stories told by his much-loved Grandpa, of earlier times which contrast with what has become a narrow farm, yet set as it is in the beautiful panoramic views, and richly vegetated temperate rain-forest areas of the mountain-rimmed valleys of Victoria, Australia.
In Tuft, every chapter is named for a plant, using its botanical and common names, and each of these plants acts as a life-force, a spirit-being presiding over the events, giving meaning and symbolic substance, a kind of legendary force.
The chosen plants act as symbols by which the natural world comes out of the background into a significance that can be read, and in this sense this is not merely a human story, but an full environmental one, highlighting the reality of the human situation as a part of nature in truth.
Jasper feels that the life his people are living is like a plastic sheet stretched over the landscape. Believing that, underneath, in its deeper life forces, is a story, a reality from which his people have lost connection. Eventually, out of deeply troubled actions, Jasper runs into the mountain wilderness where his Grandpa had gone to die.
The original title of the work was 'Plum Puddings and Blackfellow's Bread" -deriving from two important chapters and their titles. The name 'Tuft' was adapted as a later title when Jasper's surname was set.
Each of the chapters will be published as a new posting.
© Wayne David Knoll