Everyman's rules for scientific living

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Picador, 2006 - Fiction - 255 pages
30 Reviews

It is 1934, the Great War is long over and the next is yet to come. It is a brief time of optimism and advancement.

Amid billowing clouds of dust and information, the government 'Better Farming Train' slides through the wheat fields and small towns of Australia, bringing expert advice to those living on the land. The train is on a crusade to persuade the country that science is the key to successful farming, and that productivity is patriotic.

Among the swaying cars full of cows, pigs and wheat, an unlikely love affair occurs between Robert Pettergree, a man with an unusual taste for soil, and Jean Finnegan, a talented young seamstress with a hunger for knowledge. In an atmosphere of heady scientific idealism, they marry and settle in the impoverished Mallee with the ambition of proving that a scientific approach to cultivation can transform the land.

But after seasons of failing crops, and with the threat of a new World War looming, Robert and Jean are forced to confront each other, the community they have inadvertently destroyed, and the impact of their actions on an ancient and fragile landscape.

Shot through with humour and a quiet wisdom, this haunting first novel vividly captures the hope and the disappointment of the era when it was possible to believe in the perfectibility of both nature and humankind.

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Review: Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living

User Review  - Mia Boddington - Goodreads

I picked this out at a charity shop on a whim; normally I wouldn't have read it and maybe I should read the blurb closer before I read things in the future. This book was fairly mediocre -- it follows ... Read full review

Review: Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living

User Review  - Alice - Goodreads

A small quiet beautifully written read. Both funny and sad. About resilience, depression - both personal and economic, and a piece of Australian history I knew nothing about. Read full review


The Better Farming Train Brings Science to the ManontheLand
Frank Finnegans Fruit
The Folly Cow

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About the author (2006)

Carrie Tiffany has won numerous prizes in Australia, including the Victorian Premier's Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and the Australian Book Review Short Fiction Award. In her early twenties she worked as a park ranger in the red center and now lives in Melbourne, where she works as an agricultural journalist. "The Sydney Morning Herald" named "Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living" debut of the year.

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