Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living

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Picador, 2006 - Australia - 255 pages
24 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  - Peter Whittle - Goodreads

Anyone with agriculture in their life could enjoy this - an honest celebration of challenge, hard work, success, failure, joy and pain. A beautifully told story - such imagination and detail. 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 was born in West Yorkshire. Her family migrated to Western Australia in the early 1970s where an attempt to live off the land failed. She spent her early twenties working as a park ranger, and now lives in Melbourne.

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