So it ended up being the case that, although the on-line RUC catalog stated that they did in fact have A Town Like Alice, the book that I was searching for was not to be found in the library. I went for another on the list, Beloved by Toni Morrison. I knew nothing about the book, but perhaps that's a good thing - if I knew what I was in for, I wouldn't have started it. Beloved is the tragic tale of a runaway slave girl, Sethe, and her two girls: Denver, the 14 year old child too afraid to step off of their property and enter society, and Beloved, the ghost of her crawlingalready? baby girl, reincarnated into a shapely 16 year old young woman. Heavy themes of hurt, anger, forgiveness and human vs animal behaviour run through the story amidst a strange spirituality and grotesque images of the netherworld. Apparently there's a movie that has been made from this novel - I'll not be searching it out anytime soon.
I was taking a break from the insanity of Catch-22, but after the heavy strangeness of Beloved I'm not keen on returning to Catch-22 quite yet. I think that Fifth Business by Robertson Davies will be my next conquest. I head off to California tomorrow morning, so it should be a good read for the plane. Sam has convinced me that David Adams Richards will be the next author whom I shall seek out.