Hi - ah yes, titles. To tell the truth, I like the title of the ms that my publisher will be scrutinising next month: Witness Outside the Circle. But I take it she doesn't. What do you think?
The synopsis goes like this:
'Ailsa Mullins is caught between a colonial past, with its British heritage, and the upheavals of a new world. She and her husband Robert, have arrived in Saigon as part of the Australian diplomatic corps in the 1960s. After years in far-flung settings of the world, this is the one that takes over their lives, and pose impossible questions to which there are no answers for Ailsa – and indeed for Vietnam itself – as the war unfolds.
A country vicar’s daughter, Ailsa has a naïve loyalty to her husband Robert. Yet she develops an intense relationship, a hovering close to love and sensual desire, with Jack Maloof, a disillusioned journalist. Robert and Jack, too, develop a closeness and a shared obsession with this doomed war. The bond between the three is ambiguous but somehow enchanted; the bond between the men and the war is its own story of deadly fascination.
This novel follows the logic of disintegration – of South Vietnam; of the high hopes of the bullish West; of the elegant yet peripheral life of the diplomatic corps; of Ailsa’s own certainties.
This is an intimate epistolary novel of a woman’s innermost thoughts as the world she knows – or thought she knew – collapses around her.'