Mr Wigg – Inga Simpson

Mr Wigg - Inga Simpson

Mr Wigg – Inga Simpson

This novel was recommended to me by someone at my Victorian book group – the same person recommended Olive Kitteridge. As I really enjoyed Olive Kitteridge, I was keen to read this one.

Here is the blurb …

A novel that celebrates the small things in life by a fresh Australian voice.
It’s the summer of 1971, not far from the stone-fruit capital of New South Wales, where Mr Wigg lives on what is left of his family farm. Mrs Wigg has been gone a few years now and he thinks about her every day. He misses his daughter, too, and wonders when he’ll see her again.
He spends his time working in the orchard, cooking and preserving his produce and, when it’s on, watching the cricket. It’s a full life. Things are changing though, with Australia and England playing a one-day match, and his new neighbours planting grapes for wine. His son is on at him to move into town but Mr Wigg has his fruit trees and his chooks to look after. His grandchildren visit often: to cook, eat and hear his stories. And there’s a special project he has to finish …
It’s a lot of work for an old man with shaking hands, but he’ll give it a go, as he always has.

This is a charming novel – quirky and simple. It is an easy read – not a lot happens. Mr Wigg works in his orchard (he tells himself and his grand children a beautiful story about an orchard), he bakes with his grandchildren, helps his neighbours and works on his sculpture. Along the way you learn that things haven’t always been lovely – there was the year when everything went wrong. His son has had to move and Mr Wigg seems distant/estranged from his daughter. The reasons for this are revealed slowly and I am sure it is a tale common to many farming families. However, this novel is mostly about taking each day as it comes and taking pleasure in the simple things – fresh peaches, homemade icecream, spending time with your grandchildren and working on something creative.

Another review …

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