THE LAST TIGER, (the first was last year's HIS FATHER'S SON) has set me thinking about other books set in the Lucky Country.
A quick scan at my blog stats tells me most of you reading this are in the States and the UK, and only a few are from Oz - so it seems like a good idea to share some of the fruits of the Aussie writing mill with those of you who might not have come across the best and the brightest from Down Under.
So, here's my completely idiosyncratic list of books set in Australia. They're not all by Aussie authors, and there's at least one short story collection in the mix but I'm vouching for the quality of each and every one of them.
Peter Carey. Where do I start with this one from the double Booker-winner. If you know the Ned Kelly story, or even have a passing familiarity with it, then you know it's a ripper of a yarn. Kelly, the son of poor Irish immigrants who were ruthlessly persecuted by the colonial government, took off on a crime spree that makes Dillinger's escapades look like a picnic. Throw in hand-made armour and numerous bank heists along the way and you get the picture. I've read a few of Carey's books and this is without doubt my favourite. An incredibly finely drawn character study of Australia's most infamous bushranger, told in glistening prose. Top class.
2. RED DOG by Louis de Bernieres.
He's more famous for Captain Corelli's Mandolin but Brit, de Berniers's little novel about an errant bush dog that can't stop picking up new owners is a must read slice of modern-day Australiana. De Berniers stumbled across the stories of the legendary Red Dog on a trip Down Under and felt compelled to commit them to print. I'm glad he did. I read this book when I was living in country Australia and it rings totally true to life. A raucous romp through the spinefex and dust of rural Oz that will leave you both laughing and smiling.
3. TIGER TALES by Col Bailey.
4. THE BROKEN SHORE by Peter Temple.
Crime fiction fans around the work are likely already familiar with Temple's work and the reason for that is his breakthrough novel, The Broken Shore. Essentially a detective yarn it rises above the standard fare in its depictions of a modern vibrant Australia coming to terms with its long journey from convict roots. Temple, a resident of the Victorian town of Ballarat, originally hails from South Africa but writes like a life-long native. The descriptions of the landscape and its inhabitants are crisply told; add in a rattling good crime plot and what more could you ask for from one of the world's most popular genres.
5. FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN SHORT STORIES - edited by Harry Heseltine.
:: Discover more about the brightest and the best of Australian literature at Wikipedia.