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First review in for I Had a Father in Karratha by Annette Trevitt (April 2023)


I Had a Father in Karratha (Annette Trevitt, Upswell)

21 February 2023    Books+Publishing

When her father dies, Annette Trevitt spends two-and-a-half years organising the detritus of his life in a remote WA mining town. I Had a Father in Karratha is a memoir about Trevitt taking responsibility for a parent who eschewed responsibility, unpicking and unravelling her relationship with her father while she pores through the rubble of his life. Trevitt is a tertiary teacher and lives with her teenage son in Melbourne, so the frequent trips to Karratha become one of the biggest parts of her life. She negotiates with lawyers and insurance companies as it becomes clear that her father has been the victim of financial abuse. A detective and an advocate, she sells seven properties during an economic downturn, all the while dealing with the emotional labour of sorting through her memories of her father. This book is like an intimate conversation between good friends: Trevitt’s voice has a familiarity and relatability to it; she is at times overwhelmed, making the same mistakes that anyone would. Like anyone caught in the tangle of grief, Trevitt experiences breaks in understanding and episodes of magical thinking in which the brain still believes death might not be final. Fans of Joan Didion, especially Blue Nights or My Year of Magical Thinking, should enjoy Trevitt’s detailed and profound meditation of life, death and the things we leave behind.

Books+Publishing reviewer: Rebecca Whitehead is a freelance writer from Melbourne. Books+Publishing is Australia’s number-one source of pre-publication book reviews.