Judith Clarke�s most recent book, Wolf on the Fold, depicts an Australian family�s life-time of struggles over a period of seventy years. Clarke, being born and raised in Australia, portrays life in this country most accurately. In the book, she accounts for how this nation was affected by the trials and tribulations of events such as the Great Depression all the way to current problems with Iraq. Clarke�s amazing style of writing and fascinating stories will keep the reader intrigued till the end.
The story progresses from generation to generation. Clarke begins with the family�s struggle to stay afloat during the time of the Great Depression. After the children�s� father dies, the oldest son, Kenny, is responsible for getting a job and supporting his family at the age of fourteen. The story then jumps to the 1950�s; Kenny is now a father with two girls of his own, Clightie and Frances. The girls live through a typical summer in the 1950�s while caring for their mentally insane Aunty May. The girls follow their crazy aunt on hilarious outings throughout their home town. Clarke continues this style of writing all the way up until the 1980�s.
The story then begins telling of more recent events. Frances moves to Israel at the age of thirty-six during the time that Saddam Hussein is in total power. She teaches English to children and soldiers and has a son by the name of Gabriel. One day at the market, Gabriel begins yelling, �Saddam Hussein is a loony.� At this point, Frances is terrified for both of their lives, and is thankful when they are not stoned to death. Clightie remains in Australia and gets married.
The books then jumps to a story of Clightie�s grandson, James. James hears his mother and father arguing every night, and try as he may, he cannot hide the fighting from his younger brother, Davie. James� greatest fear is that his whole family will fall apart around him; that one day they will all be gone. Clarke does an amazing job tying serious problems, such as a family on the brink of extinction, with everyday family problems, such as a ten year old listening to his mother and father argue.
Clarke�s amazing style of writing is intriguing and humbling. By the end of the book, the reader sees how many struggles that they personally may or may not have had to go through. She shows life through a perspective of just how many trials one can overcome. Clarke uses similes such as �the air was as whole as milk� to allow the reader to feel the severity of the situations. Through Clarke�s vivid descriptions and realistic accounts, the reader feels as if they are actually part of the story.
Thus, the story is a vivid account of one family�s difficulty to survive. The title, Wolf on the Fold, is to symbolize a wolf attacking a flock, such as the problems that attack this family. The story�s title comes from lines in a poem that Kenny is forced to memorize. One day, when Kenny finds himself in trouble, the lines of that poem are the only thing he can think of. �Lines of a poem he�d learned at school flashed into Kenny�s mind: �The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold; / And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold.� The situations that occur in this book are real, serious and crucial problems, just like a wolf on attack. Clarke does a wonderful job portraying the harshness of these people�s lives, and how they strive to overcome.