The Peeping Tom, the architect and other voyeurs

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  • Published 20061205
  • ISBN: 9780733319396
  • Extent: 266 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

LYING IN BED, under a cotton sheet and a slow-turning fan, I was listening to tropical birds – not knowing what kind they were, but enjoying the early morning illiteracy that comes from a mind on holiday in a foreign country. I won’t say which country I was in, for fear that what I am going to say later will hurt or embarrass those who might recognise the precise location or even themselves. Let me just say it is a country not far north of the Equator, where humidity refracts the dawn so that all seven colours of the rainbow can be discerned in the wet, luminous light of morning.

From where I lay, I could see through a wall of windows into a courtyard, shaded by the monstrous trunk and ambling branches of an old frangipani that dropped its flowers on to the red pebbles below. The courtyard walls were not that old – perhaps fifty years at most – but, having been rubbed with cow dung and mud, they blazed with lichen and stood, in their slow decay, with the silent presence of another age. Orchids and ferns grew from inside cracks, taking moisture from the air and nourishment from the crumbling rock, and draped their massive root systems down the sides of the wall.

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About the author

Bronwyn Lea

Bronwyn Lea grew up in Queensland and Papua New Guinea. She lived in California for twelve years and studied at the California State University...

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