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Great Australian Books

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Pam Greatorex found this witty
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I'm so proud of our Australian writers. 'Back in the day', most of the books we read came from Britain, and later America. Today Australian writers can hold their heads high among the best in the world.

Here are some of my personal favourites:

    The Dry

    WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well ...When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds are reopened. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret ... A secret Falk thought long-buried ... A secret which Luke's death starts to bring to the surface ...

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    Reckoning

    Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most beloved performers, tells her story. In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on. Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.

    The Slap

    At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event. In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.

    Barracuda

    You lose everything. In front of everyone. Where do you go from here? Daniel Kelly, a talented young swimmer, has one chance to escape his working-class upbringing. His astonishing ability in the pool should drive him to fame and fortune, as well as his revenge on the rich boys at the private school to which he has won a sports scholarship. Everything Danny has ever done, every sacrifice his family has ever made, has been in pursuit of his dream. But when he melts down at his first big international championship and comes only fifth, he begins to destroy everything he has fought for and turn on everyone around him. Tender and savage, Barracuda is a novel about dreams and disillusionment, friendship and family. As Daniel Kelly loses everything, he learns what it means to be a good person - and what it takes to become one.

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    Poor Man's Orange

    First published in 1949 as the sequel to the award-winning "The Harp in the South", this novel continues the story of the Darcy family of Sydney. The author also wrote "Swords and Crowns and Rings", which won the Miles Franklin Award.

    The Harp in the South

    Ruth Park's classic novel The Harp in the South is one of Australia's greatest novels. Hugh and Margaret Darcy are raising their family in Sydney amid the brothels, grog shops and run-down boarding houses of Surry Hills, where money is scarce and life is not easy. Filled with beautifully drawn characters that will make you laugh as much as cry, this Australian classic will take you straight back to the colourful slums of Sydney with convincing depth, careful detail and great heart.

    Fishing in the Styx

    The second volume of Ruth Park's autobiography is the tender portrait of her partnership with D'Arcy Niland in life and work. They were two talented, volatile people who shared dreams, disappointments and triumphs.

    A Fence Around the Cuckoo

    Written as vividly as any of her novels, Ruth Park's autobiography is a moving, passionate, often funny account of the people and places which influenced her early years. Her isolated childhood in the rainforests of New Zealand fed her fertile imagination; her convent education encouraged her love of words and writing, and the bitter years of the Depression exposed her to poverty and injustice.

    Light Between Oceans

    The years-long "New York Times "bestseller soon to be a major motion picture from Spielberg s Dreamworks that is irresistible seductive with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page ("O, The Oprah Magazine"). After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a gift from God, and against Tom s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them."

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    Burial Rites

    In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the months leading up to her execution on the farm of district officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant priest appointed her spiritual guardian, will listen to Agnes's side of the story. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force everyone to work side by side, the family's attitude to Agnes starts to change, until one winter night, she begins her whispered confession to them, and they realize that all is not as they had assumed.

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