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Novels set in Australia or New Zealand for me to read before/during my trip?

Novels set in Australia or New Zealand for me to read before/during my trip?

Nov 3rd, 2005, 09:46 AM
  #1  
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Novels set in Australia or New Zealand for me to read before/during my trip?

Any suggestions? I have already read "Thorn Birds" and several Nevil Shute books...loved them all. I would definitely consider some nonfiction, too...but nothing too dry. And nothing too hefty! My copy of "The Fatal Shore" sits unread on a shelf because I don't want to lug it on the subway every day.

Thanks in advance!
suzanne is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 09:58 AM
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I enjoyed a thriller by Philip McLaren. I had to order a used copy from amazon.com because they don't print them here in the US. He is an Aboriginal author. The book I read took place in Sydney and I think it was called Scream Black Murder.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:45 AM
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One of my favourite Australian novels is "A Fortunate Life" by AB Facey. It is autobiographical in nature and quite inspirational. It is not heavy going at all.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 12:04 PM
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I strongly recommend "Out of Ireland" by Christopher J. Koch - fiction, but based on real events that read like fiction (the transportation of members of the Young Ireland movement to Van Diemen's Land).

Koch also wrote "The Year of Living Dangerously" and "Highways to a War", both excellent novels but set mainly in SE Asia - although "Highways" has a link to "Out of Ireland".

Another very fine Australian writer is George Johnston, best known for his semi-autobiographical "My Brother Jack" and its sequel, "Clean Straw for Nothing".

Both are far, far better writers than Colleen McCulloch and Neville Shute.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Not fiction, but Rabbit Proof Fence is interesting and enlightening. Also, "The Road to Coorain by Jill Ker Conway is a wonderful read about growing up on a sheep station.

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Nov 3rd, 2005, 01:22 PM
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They're not novels, but having red them will be immensely valuable from two wholly different angles when you get there:

Robert Hughes, Fatal Shore

and Bryson, In A Sunburned country.

They've both been out for a while and should be around used for not much money, or at your local library.

WK
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 03:55 PM
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Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (I've only paged through it, but it looks good)
Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz (nonfiction, but I think you'll find it interesting)

Lee Ann
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 04:05 PM
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My favourite book set in Australia would have to be "Tree of Man" by Patrick White.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 04:52 PM
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The Janet Frame autobiography trilogy for New Zealand. (Well you could esp. do the first Volume if not all three). HIGHLY recommended.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 05:34 PM
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You guys are the best. I'm looking into some of these!
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 06:48 PM
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On a much lighter note - any of the novels by Judy Nunn. These are purely fiction but based in various parts of Australia and provide an interesting background.
prue is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2005, 06:58 PM
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BTW, I think Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country" is called "Down Under" in the UK.

Either way, it's a mandatory, hilarious read.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:14 PM
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Bryson's book is called "Down Under" in Australia too. Seems the wrong way around to me - most Australians, unlike overseas readers, would recognise the phrase "a sunburned country" as coming from a well-known poem by Dorothea McKellar. On the other hand, for obvious reasons we don't see ourselves as "down under".

I haven't yet finished "The Fatal Shore", but I'm inclined to suggest taking it with just a small grain of salt. The convict experience was a mixed one and hangings and floggings, although common, by no means typical. At least that's how it seems to this descendant of six English and Irish convicts who appear to have kept their heads down, worked out their time and achieved things that would have been impossible back home.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 08:59 AM
  #14  
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I have already read "In a Sunburned Country" - great, funny stuff!

I have "Fatal Shore" right here, weighing in at 688 pages, 5 pounds. If only it were smaller, I'd consider bringing it.

Any more NZ suggestions? That's where I'll be spending the bulk of my trip. Thanks!
suzanne is offline  
Nov 4th, 2005, 07:59 PM
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The Bone People (Keri Hulme) is a fabulous book. One of my favourites. It evokes the myths & magic of New Zealand! I think it one a Booker Prize. I've re-read it again & again!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 08:00 PM
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I think it "one" a Booker! OMG I'm having a bad day again. Sorry, I think it WON a Booker! All the best.
Lyndie is offline  
Nov 4th, 2005, 09:17 PM
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Lyndie, I wouldn't worry. The standard of spelling on Fodors forums is getting so lousy that I'm not sure how many alarm bells your little goof would ring anyway.

And that's in a mostly middle-aged, middle-class population. Spare a thought for the members of Generation 'Y', some representatives of which (and about half university-educated) it has been my dubious pleasure to supervise recently. A colleague actually had to explain to one surprised youth that "received" is not, actually, spelled "recvd".

I'll defend this grumpy rant on the grounds that it's relevant to the reading of books.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 4th, 2005, 09:23 PM
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Hi Neil. Go ahead and have a grump because I agree with you. I've been howled down on LP for critizing spelling mistakes, especially when they are relevant and people are relying on specific spelling of place names & accom etc. I just have these little moments when I type faster than I spell! Have fun, raining in the big C? p-ss-ng down here!
Lyndie is offline  
Nov 5th, 2005, 09:32 AM
  #19  
 
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Another suggestion - rent the documentary "Forgotten Silver" before you go. My library has copies; yours may too, or you may be able to find it at a video store. You've probably never heard of Colin Mackenzie, but you won't be able to forget him after watching this!

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Nov 5th, 2005, 12:04 PM
  #20  
 
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The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally (who also wrote Schindler's List). The book was also made into a play by Timberlake Wertenbaker called 'Our Country's Good.'

My copy of The Playmaker has a sticker on it saying 'Soon to be a Merchant Ivory film.' It hasn't been made into a film yet, but I hope it does...
goldilox is offline  

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