Here we go. Review number 2 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Today I am tackling Jan Cornall, not only a writer but an institution in this country. She sings, she performs, she teaches, she is a mentor to many an artistic soul. Australian artists salute Jan Cornall, so let’s take a look inside her first published novel.
Take me to Paradise follows the journey of Marilyn, both her physical and emotional Journey. Marilyn wakes up one morning and instead of catching the bus to work, catches the ‘I don’t like Mondays’ flight to Bali. It is a poignant journey of self-discovery and self-recovery. A woman getting out of her element and in doing so she can strips away the trappings of her life and discovers what is truly her and versus what is a construction of her. It has many nods to metaphysical thought but also has that feeling of rebellion of like expressed in feminist movies like Thelma and Louise. I think this book would resonate with anyone who has had an existential crisis, midlife crisis, or went through those awkward teenage years, because all of these times are a deeply perplexing and painfully personal experience. The novella has a beautifully rich setting, with sights, smells, and sounds blasting at you. You feel as if you are immersed in this world. The tropic jungle descriptions in particular are quite powerful and make you want to travel. Take Me to Paradise shows how different the paradise dream can be: for a western woman, for a Balinese man, for a Balinese wife, and the many characters Marilyn meets.