The different settings in Maestro play a significant role in the structure of the plot and the development of its characters. The novel begins in Darwin in 1967 and traces Paul’s life through his childhood to 1977. During this time he travels to Adelaide and throughout Europe, and ends up settling in Melbourne with Rosie. At the end of the novel he returns to Darwin to be at Keller’s bedside.
1. Use the following quotes and other references from Maestro to outline the picture of Darwin Peter Goldsworthy creates.
· ‘It’s a town of drunks ... All the scum in the country has somehow risen to this one town ... All the drifters, the misfits, the wife bashers.’ (John Crabbe, p. 8b)
· ‘The arsehole of the earth ... A city of booze, blow, and blasphemy.’ (Banjo Paterson, as quoted by John Crabbe, p.9b)
· ‘Everything grew larger than life in the steamy hothouse of Darwin ... Exotic, hothouse blooms.’ (Paul, p. 11a)
· ‘Greek, Chinese - Aboriginal, Australian: the band might have been a statistical paradigm of Darwin’s population.’ (Paul, p.77)
2. What images of colour, light, weather and smell does Peter Goldsworthy employ to create his picture of Darwin? Quote examples from the novel such as the wet season on (p. 21b).
3. Why do you think Paul says ‘No memoir would be possible without this further heading:The Swan’ (p. 17a). Create a profile of the Swan and Keller’s ‘crowded weatherboard room’. In what way are these settings important in the novel?
4. How is Darwin’s social life portrayed in the novel?
5. Vienna is described by Keller as ‘the city of show, of ... veneer’. (p. 65a) What picture of Vienna does Peter Goldsworthy create through the eyes of Keller and Paul? (Refer to quotes on pp. 45b, 133a-133b.)
6. Contrast the images of Vienna and Darwin portrayed in the novel. What impressions do you form of these cities?
a) Is it possible to see the qualities that Keller recognised in Vienna or those impressions that Paul’s father had of Darwin(pp. 17b, 133a)?
b)What were Paul’s impressions of the cities?