Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, Elsewhere Girls, Text Publishing, May 2021, 288 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781922330451
Cat Feeney and Fanny Durack are serious about their swimming. That’s right, Fanny Durack. If you haven’t heard of her before, then you don’t know much about swimming.
This is a time slip novel about both girls who have changed places with each other. Cat ends up in 1908 – Fanny in 2021. Both are unhappy with their situation but have great difficulties in their attempts to reverse it. Cat hates the idea of skinning rabbits for her family but admires the dependence on the family for support; Fanny marvels at the household aids such as microwaves and washing machines, and even more about the freedom accorded to women.
Both girls are subject to the prejudices of their age, particularly Fanny, but then hers is a warmer time when people were inclined to help each other more, be less unfriendly.
It is an interesting comparison, particularly as an examination of Fanny’s reactions. The joint authors have succeeded in convincing us of the apparent reality of this magical event. Swimmers in particular will be keen to find out more about Ms Durack.
Reviewed by Stella Lees