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Library Journal: "Kocan (The Treatment), who spent years in prison and mental hospitals for the attempted assassination of an Australian politician, has crafted a dark, Dickensian work based on the events of his own rough-and-tumble youth."

Date: Jun 13 2007

Set in the 1960s, this harrowing coming-of-age tale features an unnamed 14-year-old Australian boy with a troubled past. As the book opens, he, his mother, and his younger brother are leaving his abusive father to make a life on their own. With his mother unable to care for both sons, he is left to fend for himself, moving between city and country and working a variety of jobs in order to survive. He learns the value of work well done from a skilled ranch hand, meets a restless girl from a strait-laced farm family, and experiences joy and sorrow at a migrant labor camp. Throughout, he imagines himself a stoic loner making his way through a harsh and ruined world—until he's drawn to a deadly "instrument of fate." Poet and novelist Kocan (The Treatment), who spent years in prison and mental hospitals for the attempted assassination of an Australian politician, has crafted a dark, Dickensian work based on the events of his own rough-and-tumble youth. Recommended for most public libraries. [Winner of the 2005 Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards and the FAW Christina Stead Award for Fiction.—Ed.]

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