The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham [5/10]

Who can forget that ballistic missile of a film made from Rosalie Ham’s debut novel, “The Dressmaker”? Her fourth outing, “The Year of the Farmer,” shares some of the finer aspects of “The Dressmaker,” namely a gorgeous sense of place, larger than life characters who are the same time ordinary folks, and a sense of bigness with emotions. It’s a relaxed read. The underlying topic, the byzantine issue of water rights, is of intrinsic interest to me (probably from a different perspective to the author’s) but quickly grew tiresome, and rapidly shifting character perspectives blunted much sympathy. As a satire, I felt it was too didactic, as a small-town drama, it never acquired its plot legs. Overall, an intriguing but uninvolving story.

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