From Ashes to Ashes

by John Biggs

Life’s business being just the terrible choice.’  Robert Browning
A fully functioning adult needs to get two aspects of life right: love and work.’ Sigmund Freud

Peter Morrison is devastated when his father pushes his favourite teacher to enlist in World War II. He rejects his father’s values yet is shaped by them. He begins a lifelong march to the beat of two different drummers.  While one leads him to teaching and family, the other draws him to illicit love and classroom scandal. With maturity, Peter rights his choices, retiring as a respected school principal. However, finally verging on dementia, he hears again the beat of the other drummer.

‘At last, a novel to rival the great Australian classics The Advancement of Spencer Button (1950) by Brian James and Sumner Locke Elliott’s Careful, He Might Hear You (1963)! … rich characterisation, psychological insight and diversity of range – from comedy to pathos.  A hugely satisfying read and a fine family saga enriched ironically by the shadows of World War II.’   John Ramsland, Emeritus Professor, University of Newcastle, Author

‘… the development of the major characters and the handling of dialogue are major strengths.  …As a former teacher of literature, I was excited by the subtle layers of meaning in much of the narrative, thinking how the text would provoke discussion and analysis.’                                     Ralph Spaulding, Former Principal, Cosgrove High School.


‘ … an enticing and engaging novel that reveals deep insights into pervasive factors influencing our lives. Readers will readily identify with the recurring themes of the work. A compelling read.’         
                                         Phillip Moore, Professor (retired), Hong Kong Institute of Education

‘This book … speaks to a wide audience. Most life journeys are littered with unfulfilled expectations, ambitions and unrequited loves. ..This makes provocative and engaging reading.’                                                     Warren Brewer, Sunday Tasmanian