Deep In The Outback

TITLE: WOMAN OF THE INNER SEA

AUTHOR: THOMAS KENEALLY

PUBLISHER: DOUBLEDAY; 277 PAGES; $21

THE BOTTOM LINE: Australia's best-known and best-selling novelist fires up the interior of the continent as the crucible for a tale of loss and regeneration.

A rich and fashionable Australian woman loses her husband to another woman, and her two children in a mysterious house fire. She then flees into the Outback, where she attempts to erase her identity and, with it, her memories of humiliation and tragedy. As Thomas Keneally paints it, the landscape is almost biblical: an antipodean Sinai, where the flesh is challenged and...

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