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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 6th, 2005, 02:15 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Talking of Keneally, there's a review of his latest in this weekend's Australian Review by Robert Murray. "The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Sydney Experiment". Part of the review goes on to say 'the obvious comparison is with Robert Hughes's showier "The Fatal Shore" Hughes squeezed out more drama, more blood, intestines and artistic heightening to produce an international bestseller. "The Commonwealth of Thieves" is more detailed, richer in context, more serious in purpose and careful with the truth. It requires concentrated reading but lingers in the memory.'

Tim and Liz, if you enjoyed Phil McLaren's book, you would probably like his first tale, also a thriller with an Aboriginal background: "Sweet Water: Stolen Land". Published by University of Queensland Press.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 6th, 2005, 03:18 AM
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Here's another vote for A B Facey's "A Fortunate Life" - a very simple, but very telling, autobiography.

David Malouf - "The Great World" is my personal favourite.

Howard Jacobsen's "In the Land of Oz" about a journey round Australia is hilarious. Definitely recommended!

For readable history, full of interesting ideas and information, "The Tyranny of Distance" by Geoffrey Blainey.

For NZ - I just finished one of the few books I have read by a NZ author. "Plumb" by Maurice Gee. I enjoyed it though it wasn't quite good enough to recommend going out and actively searching for it. He also wrote "In my father's Den" which I haven't read, but the recent movie (2004) was excellent.

fuzzylogic is offline  
Nov 6th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion, Pat! If I can't find a copy here, I will pick one up in Oz (in 7 more weeks!)
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Nov 7th, 2005, 03:20 AM
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For a younger,more Bohemian novel, try He died with a Falafel in His Hand by John Birmingham.
Gabrielle Lord writes good suspense books set in Sydney.
For a good look at Sydney esp. Kings Cross (with a little panhandling in New York),Mandy Sayer's Dream Time Alice and her prequel Velocity are lyrical and so raw.
Cloudstreet and Dirt Music by Tim Winton. You can taste the salt. Again lyrical. Set in WA.
Another WA book is My Place by Sally Morgan detailing her discovery that she was part aboriginal.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Nov 7th, 2005, 11:22 PM
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Hi Suzanne,
Hector Holthouse's "River of Gold" is a fascinating look at the Gold Rush era of Far North Qld. If anyone's contemplating a trip to Cairns & North, it brings the history of Cooktown, Palmer River & that country to life.

It's only a slim volume, too
Bokhara is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 03:29 AM
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Bokhara, well worth a read. Having been through that country today I cannot imagine how so many transported the Palmer River gold to Cooktown without dying; well, plenty did, its a terribly harsh piece of country even in a nice a/c 4WD.

pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 11:03 PM
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Hi Pat,
Sure is - and wandering around up the hill behind what is left of Cooktown today, the aura of those 50,000 people & their times is so strong. The hustle & bustle, dust & noise.

And that haunting story of the woman (name escapes me) with the sea-cucumber farm, the chinese cook and her baby.

Anyone venturing up to Cooktown - make sure you visit the Museum. And have a beer on the verandah of the pub as the sun is setting ... aaahhh !

Bokhara is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 12:30 AM
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Hi Bokhara, I think her name was Mary Watson, husband was speared by Aborigines on Lizard Island (I think) and she, her baby and a Chinese cook tried to escape to sea in a vat used for rendering sea cucumber. They all died of thirst and exposure and when finally discovered the vat was half full of rainwater. As you say, James Cook Museum is worth a visit, a great little regional museum in an old convent building.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 12:40 AM
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anything by nick earls.... especially zig zag street... and the mayne inheritence (can't remember author)
Georgiamorrison is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 06:42 AM
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A couple of classic NZ reads are The Scarecrow and Came a Hot Friday by Ronald Hugh Morrison. Highly recommended.
Frostyev is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 03:28 PM
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If you are looking for novels set in Australia, try Judy Nunn. She has written several books including Kal (set in Kalgoorlie, WA), Territory (set in NT) and her latest, Heritage which is based on the building of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and the big migration intake after WW II.
marg is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 09:35 PM
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Good one, frostyev. For a taste of the more bizarre (but recognisable) aspects of small-town NZ, Ronald Hugh Morrieson's novels are a good read. The opening sentence of "The Scarecrow" has to be one of the most attention-grabbing opening sentences of all time: "On the day our fowls died, Daphne Moran got her throat cut."
Other RHM novels include "Predicament", "Came A Hot Friday" and the novella "Pallet on the Floor".
twoflower is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 09:39 PM
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I haven't read Maurice Gee's "In My Father's Den" but I saw the movie and was really impressed. A star of the movie was the scenery, around the Lawrence area in non-touristed hill country west of Dunedin, NZ.
twoflower is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Try "Kangaroo Dreaming" (2000) by Edward Kanze. Experiences of an impoverished naturalist and his wife (also a naturalist) as they drive around the perimeter of Australia and discover the wonderful diverse flora and fauna.
rickrick is offline  
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