The scene is Australia, in the 1920s. The central figure is a writer, Richard Lovat Somers, seeking horizons of more width and promise than those of moribund Europe — and so, with his wife, Harriet, he has come to discover for himself the people and the way of life of this vast land of opportunity.
Many of Lawrence’s novel’s are autobiographical, and in Kangaroo he has recorded the impact Australia made upon him during a visit he made there some years before his death. With his ruthless and vivid insight he penetrated the realities and illusions of the Australian habit and outlook — its gusty individuality, its raw self-consious democracy, its open-heartedness and its volatile resentments.
In this story of the relationships of the Somers to each other and to the friends and enemies they made in Australia, Lawrence was roused to explore and express his own unique and vehement gospel of personal integrity; and in portraying the domestic and political situations of the novel he is animated by that question which burns with such intensity in all his writings: How should men and women behave if they are to fulfil themselves truly?