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From my blog :D

 

Published by the utterly marvellous folks at Fox, Finch and Tepper, this is a stunning novel, which frankly had turned me into an emotional wreck by the end. 

 

Macauley takes temporary jobs he finds as he walks between the towns of New South Wales. He is used to life on the road, camping and walking and hard labour. The Shiralee of the title, is Buster, his four year old daughter he took from his estranged wife. The pair are on the road together, and Buster's childlike view of the world, and complete trust in her father helps very slowly close the distance between them.

Before I started reading this book, I was so taken by the cover, but I wasn't sure why. It is lovely, but for some reason it had a real hold on me. When I finished the book, I closed it, and stared at the cover, and it seemed to have changed... I won't say how as that would spoil things.

I found this a hard read, not due to the language, or even the content on a superficial level, but because Niland really puts these two characters through the wringer. It got to a point where I could only read it for half an hour or so at a time as the tension was so high. Right up until the last moment, it isn't clear what the outcome of the story will be. There are some moments of light relief too, Buster's love for an ugly cuddly toy is joyous, and there are some superb supporting characters, all with their own interesting backstory. The Australian outback is captured in subtle detail, it isn't a place I have visited, but I feel as though I have now. 

 

All in all this is an astonishing book, not what I expected, and Buster and Macauley will sit on my shelves and in my literary memory as characters I wish I could meet. 

Edited by MisterHobgoblin
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Goodness, that's a blast from the past!

I am old enough to remember the film being a big hit - the first version that is,  from 1957 :eek:  - not that I saw it, I wasn't quite old enough to see A rated films then.

Sounds like it would be worth looking out for a copy of the book.

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