It is 1956, and twelve-year-old Gin has arrived at the family farm, “Grasswood”, in the South West of Western Australia. She has been left in the care of her lively, idiosyncratic aunt, Attie, while her mother, Valerie, an English war bride, returns home for a holiday. Virginia (“Gin”) is the youngest of three generations of very different women, whose lives are profoundly affected by the absence of Jasper: son, brother, husband, father and RAAF Lancaster pilot. A fixed point in all their lives is the landscape, layered with beauty and fear, challenge and consolation, isolation and freedom.
Set in Perth and rural Western Australia, 1945-1965, this three-part novel shows the impact of war on family. As the story shifts back and forth in time and place through three different perspectives, the dislocating ripple effect continues to build into the 1960s with devastating results. But it is up to Gin to forge her life beyond as part of a new generation facing conscription and yet another war.
Music and far-off memories haunt this multilayered novel. As the title suggests, the story revolves around the ‘finding of Jasper’. More broadly it is about the search for what is lost in war and exile – as much the physical, material and psychological costs to society as the quest for love, identity and one’s place in a changing world.