By Tom Sutton.
Set in the Pearling District Broome in Western Australia during the years of World War II, Garry Disher’s “The Divine Wind” follows the personal experiences of Hartley “Hart” Penrose as he recounts the events of his youth leading up to and during World War II . The problems facing Hart are those in which he lusts for Japanese friend Mitsy Sennosuke, who encounters hate and prejudice as Japan enters the war, and the decaying Kinship of Broome as a whole. During the course of the novel, Trust and Friendship are challenged as the People of Broome develop concerns and worries of the future as Australia enters the war.
Quite possibly the main source of concern for Hart was the complexity of his relationship with Mitsy. There were times when Hart was seen to be reflecting on the relationship he had with Mitsy, ‘I knew only that I’d lost Mitsy’s friendship. Alice hadn’t – she sided with Mitsy it didn’t mean that I never spent time with them, but things had changed. If we went to the cinema, Mitsy sat on one side of Alice, I on the other. Out on the street, she was polite but distant with me.’ This shows us that Hart is constantly thinking about Mitsy, and how he longs for Mitsy’s attention. Hart’s love for Mitsy was just one of many troubles that the characters of ‘The Divine Wind’ had on their minds.
Ida Penrose’s homesickness caused quite a bit of concern to the Penrose family as well. Although she once loved her husband, she soon grew weary of the neglect she received from her him. She longed for England deeply, so sometimes she would leave during the day to find solitude, to find her own “bit of England” in Broome. She tried to “Culturelise” her family with English literature, ‘She would push Great Expectations into our hands, and we’d say “too thick, never get through it”.’ After Ida had left, the remaining Penrose family began to wonder as to why she had left,...