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Painting the Light

Ned Manning



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Broadcast Books
11 May 2022
Painting the Light is an expansive historical Australian novel and a touching and realistic love story set before, during and after WW2. It traces the journey of two young Australians whose experience of the war leads them to rejecting their conservative upbringing and embracing the aims of a fair deal for everyone.

Nell Hope's dreams of becoming an artist are dashed when Hitler invades Poland. Her grazier father orders her home from Paris, and so she swaps her paint brush for riding boots.

Alec Murray's loyalist instincts propel him to leave his farm in western NSW and enlist in the AIF to defend Britain against the impending Nazi threat.

They meet in the hyper-charged atmosphere of prewar Sydney and fall in love, but their courtship is cut short when war is declared. Alec is sent to the Middle East where his eyes are opened to a new world. Far from experiencing the romanticism of war as depicted in the art and literature of the day, Alec is confronted by the reality of its horrors. When he returns on leave after two years in Palestine and Greece, he is a changed man. He is determined that if he survives the war, he will do everything in his power to create a fairer and more equitable society. To his relief he finds a fellow traveller in Nell. They are hastily married before he is sent to PNG to fight the Japanese.

Nell discovers she is pregnant and faces the prospect of bringing a new baby into the world alone. Dreams of an artistic career seem long ago.

When Alec is finally demobbed, the couple begin a new life on his farm near Coonabarabran, NSW. He throws himself into local politics and starts to transform Coonabarabran by creating the kind of public utilities he saw in his travels.

Nell discovers she is pregnant again just at the time when Alec receives a call from Labor Party headquarters. A meeting with Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, results in him standing for the ALP in a safe Country Party seat. Their respective family and friends are horrified and turn their backs on the couple.

United in the fight to create a more equitable society and to bring rural Australia into the postwar world, Nell and Alec throw everything into the election. Soon they discover they are fighting against more than their Country Party opponents, but their love and loyalty to each other grow ever stronger.

About the Author

Ned Manning is writer, actor and educator. He has written over 30 plays, including ten for the Bell Shakespeare Company and the play that led to Griffin Theatre Company transforming from a co-op to a professional company. Alice Dreaming, a large-cast play for young people, has had over 30 productions and remains a popular play both for schools and young people's theatre groups.

Ned's memoir about teaching, Playground Duty, has become required reading for anyone interested in teaching. He has written extensively for a number of publications as an advocate of teaching and public education.

Ned has also appeared in many highly regarded Australian productions including Mr Inbetween, Looking for Alibrandi, The Shiralee and Bodyline as well as starring in the cult hit, Dead End Drive In.

Imprint:   Broadcast Books
Country of Publication:   Australia
ISBN:   9780648905363
ISBN 10:   0648905365
Publication Date:  
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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