Author(s): Jane Messer
Growing up in an Italian family in 1950s Queensland, Rafaela longs to move to Melbourne and start her own life. When she finally seizes her chance, floodwaters halt her train's progress south, and a beautiful young Sikh scientist named Chanchal captures her heart. While both their families search for their wayward children, Rafi and Chanchal forge ahead with their life together, living briefly in isolation and bliss on a farm, unaware that their story is travelling... Set against the stifling heat of the Queensland canefields, the lush farmland of northern New South Wales and the bustle of Melbourne in the early 1960s, Chanchal's and Rafi's stories unfold and intersect over the following years, as their chance encounter becomes a story of two countries on the cusp of modernity. Provenance is an accomplished and original novel that explores colour and cultural difference at a moment in India and Australia's post-independence and post-war history when the West was keen, as one character puts it, to get on with the sexy part of the twentieth century.