Books about/set in Australia?

Old Jun 27th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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We visited the Dymock's on George St. many times. Their prices, along with the favorable exchange rate, made everything seem about 1/2 price of what we would pay here in the US. I bought so many Aussie travel books that my suitcase was overweight and Qantas made me repack it at the airport!
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Old Nov 5th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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I finally got around to ordering some of these books! Thanks again!

There were a LOT that weren't available from Barnes & Noble.

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Old Nov 6th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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I know this is an old thread, but was just flicking through it. Please spare us from Di Morrisey, talk about purple prose. Almost on a par with Bryce Courtenay.
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Old Nov 7th, 2004, 02:29 AM
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Happy to see this thread given the Lazarus treatment, because I just remembered an unforgettable book that I will strongly recommend to everyone.

It's by John Hooker, a New Zealander by birth, and it's called "The Bush Soldiers". It's a powerfully written, beautifully evocative work whose story is anchored in the scenario of a successful Japanese occupation of Australia in 1942. Before you think "Oh, no ... not another 'what-if?' book!" and switch off, this conceit is a vehicle for Hooker's moving exploration of deep-rooted Australian themes, among them the impact of World War I and the Depression on a generation of Australians, and the unresolved (and perhaps unresolvable) conflict between Aboriginal and European cultures.

This narrative is interwoven with the main plot, set in the Far West of New South Wales along the Darling River, as a small ragged band of survivors plan a guerilla raid on the Japanese mines at Broken Hill. This backdrop is conveyed so vividly that you can almost smell the gum leaves and red dust of the Outback.

Read it - you won't be sorry, and you'll probably end up knowing more about the forces that shaped Australia in the first half of the 20th century than any history text can teach you. Yes, IMHO it's that good.
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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I'm surprised that noone has mentioned "The Outback Series" by Aaron Fletcher. There were 4 books to the series & they're all wonderful. I hope there will be more.

I love books on Oz so was glad to find these suggestions. Thanks!
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 07:18 PM
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"He Died with a Felafel in his Hand". A fabulous dry humoured tale about young house-share tenants in Australia, with a bit of an insight into subcultures and youth angst. If you don't know what albino moon tanning is, you have to read it.
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 09:21 PM
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I haven't read "Felafel", but I saw the movie and thought it was pretty lame. Maybe just another case of a failed adaptation. To tell the truth I don't know what's happened to the Australian film industry - maybe two decent flicks in the last three years. Have we exported too much talent? I was however pleased to see that Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Hugo Weaving are to star in a local movie called "Eucalyptus", and Ms K will be paid Actor's Equity award rate of about $770 for a 40-hour week as her contribution to the industry. I hope it's not another well-intentioned flop.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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I'm cheating a bit because I've only just started reading this book, but I feel safe in recommending "My Brilliant Career" by Miles Franklin (1879-1954). This is a remarkably precocious book written at age 16 by an independent-minded young lady (full name was Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin) who grew up on a rural property close to what is now Canberra, very entertaining and a great insight into life in late 19th-century Australia.

In his 1901 preface the poet and short-story writer Henry Lawson wrote "She has lived her book, and I feel proud of it for the sake of the country I came from, where people toil and suffer and are kind; where every second sun-burned bushman is a sympathetic humorist, with the sadness of the bush deep in his eyes and a brave grin for the worst of times, and where every third bushman is a poet, with a big heart that keeps his pockets empty."

A characteristic excerpt:

"My organ of veneration must be flatter than a pancake, because to venerate a person simply for his position I never did or will. To me the Prince of Wales will be no more than a shearer, unless when I meet him he displays some personality apart from his princeship - otherwise he can go hang." (No wonder the socialist Lawson admired her style.)

The book was made into a better-than-average film in 1979, directed by Gillian Armstrong and starring Judy Davis.
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Old Mar 7th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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I just finished a book set mostly in Sydney.
"Scream Black Murder" by Philip McLaren, who is an Aboriginal author.
A serial rapist/killer who targets Aboriginal women is on the loose... There are two Aboriginal detectives assigned to a new police department dedicated to investigating unsolved Aboriginal deaths.

I enjoyed the book and following the characters around Sydney's neighborhoods and other areas in NSW and QLD.

It was not available new on I ordered a used copy. I am going to see if there are any other titles available.
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 04:36 PM
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I recently enjoyed Peter Carey's
"The True Story of Ned Kelley"
I believe it won the Booker prize , Carey's second.

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