My Father and Other Animals
How I Took on the Family Farm
Sam Vincent is a twenty-something writer in the inner suburbs, scrabbling to make ends meet, when he gets a call from his mother: his father has stuck his hand in a woodchipper, but ‘not to worry – it wasn’t like that scene in Fargo or anything’. When Sam returns to the family farm to help out, his life takes a new and unexpected direction.
Whether castrating a calf or buying a bull – or knocking in a hundred fence posts by hand when his dad hides the post-driver – Sam’s farming apprenticeship is an education in grit and shit. But there are victories, too: nurturing a fig orchard to bloom; learning to read the land; joining forces with Indigenous elders to protect a special site. Slowly, Sam finds himself thinking differently about the farm, about his father and about his relationship with both.
By turns affecting, hilarious and utterly surprising, this memoir melds humour and fierce honesty in an unsentimental love letter. It’s about belonging, humility and regeneration – of land, family and culture. What passes from father to son on this unruly patch of earth is more than a livelihood; it is a legacy.