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Les Murray, The Melbourne Age: "No novel I read this year, from anywhere, equalled Peter Kocan's bleak Fresh Fields."

Date: Aug 3 2006

No novel I read this year, from anywhere, equalled Peter Kocan's bleak Fresh Fields. A Sydney teenager, only ever called the Youth, is driven out of home and, by way of a few abortive jobs up country, drifts into living rough in the central city. He develops an intellectual hunger, fed by free libraries, but he lacks social skills and we watch his distrust of fellow humans become total. Real people are replaced by a cast of corrosive imaginary figures and slowly his misery begins to focus upon a violent final gesture which will be his memorial. There is no self pity or political accusation in the story, which ends on the evening he takes a rifle to a rally on the other side of the Harbour. Only the prominence of his target attracts him.

by Les Murray

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