ANZAC Day Review of “Nor the Years Condemn” by Justin Sheedy – ‘A Reminder of Young Sacrifice’ – North Shore Times 25 April 2012
A REMINDER OF YOUNG SACRIFICE
Meticulous Research Gives Novel Solid Local Roots
By Eleanor Pearson, The North Shore Times, Anzac Day Edition, Wednesday 25 April 2012
Picture by Danny Aarons
DURING World War II Justin Sheedy’s paternal grandmother organised a volunteer typing pool at the RAAF’s Bradfield Park training school in Lindfield. The typing pool were members of her Roseville tennis club. “Bradfield Park was the key training ground in NSW,” Sheedy said. The author has just written his first novel Nor the Years Condemn and some of the scenes are placed at Bradfield Park where he has drawn from his family’s real-life experiences. His paternal grandfather was the station master at Roseville during the 1940s, and witnessed many of the young men leaving the north shore to go to war. Sheedy’s father was born in 1932 and later became captain and dux of Christian Brothers, Chatswood. According to Sheedy, he was just the sort of young man who would have been snapped up by the RAAF had he been born a decade earlier. In his book, Sheedy tells the story of the young Australian World War II pilots sent to fight Nazism. “It’s about the shining young men who were destined never to become old and those who do are condemned by the years to the memory of friends who never got to grow old.” Mr Sheedy, 43, described the main character, Daniel Quinn, as the type of person he once aspired to be. Quinn is a Killara resident, who went to St Aloysius College, Milson Point, was a star rugby player and a law student, who initially trained to be a pilot at Bradfield Park. The title is from the ode of remembrance, but for Mr Sheedy it was particularly poignant in the context of the survival odds of these young pilots. Like the Gallipoli legend, Mr Sheedy said the novel (based on historical events) was about Australian mateship in the face of terrible odds. “It’s an iconic Australian story, but unlike Gallipoli many Australians are relatively unaware of it,” Mr Sheedy said. “It’s not one of Gallipoli-type defeat, but of victory at a tragic cost.” In the genre of faction, he wanted to take his readers on a journey, and have them imagine what it was like to be in the cockpit of a fighter. “I could have written non-fiction, but instead of reading about history, I wanted my readers to be living and breathing history.” Mr Sheedy researched and talked to veterans for about a decade before publishing the book. Nor the Years Condemn is available from print-on-demand paperback at Amazon, or as an e-book from Smashwords.