An absorbing read, Art Life Chooks is the story of Annette Hughes and her partner Geoffrey who move from Sydney to a farm in Noosa. Both of them seem to know fairly well what they are getting themselves into, so we are spared the ridiculous tales of things going wrong which can make some ‘sea change’ books so absurd. Hughes does spend a considerable amount of time with her chooks while Geoffrey is doing other jobs around the farm, so they do become real characters. I think this book deserves to sell quite well, particularly to women about the same age as Hughes. It is an interesting, thought-provoking account of how difficult and how wonderful life can be for people living in the country. The chooks and the garden certainly are features of the book, but art is also a recurring theme. As well as theatre, other forms such as poetry, music, pictures and painting are included. Hughes takes up a part-time teaching offer and also resumes painting, turning to the chooks for inspiration. I found myself absolutely caught up in Art Life Chooks, the subject matter and the writing are equally charming.
Jessica Broadbent is a former bookseller who continues to work in the publishing industry
This review from Australian Bookseller & Publisher magazine is reproduced by kind permission of Thorpe-Bowker, a division of R R Bowker LLC. © Copyright 2008, Thorpe-Bowker