My Brilliant Career was written by Stella Franklin (1879-1954) when she was just nineteen years old. The novel struggled to find an Australian publisher, but was published in London and Edinburgh in 1901 after receiving an endorsement from Henry Lawson. Although Franklin wrote under the pseudonym 'Miles Franklin', Lawson’s preface makes it clear that Franklin is, as Lawson puts it 'a girl.'
The novel relates the story of Sybylla Melvyn, a strong-willed young woman of the 1890s growing up in the Goulburn area of New South Wales and longing to be a writer.North Ryde : Eden Paperbacks , 1987
Such is Life: Being Certain Extracts from the Diary of Tom Collins. Joseph Furphy's title gives an indication of the complexity of the narrative that will unravel before a persistent reader. In chapter one, the narrator, Tom Collins, joins a group of bullockies to camp for the night a few miles from Runnymede Station. Their conversations reveal many of the issues that arise throughout the rest of the novel: the ownership of, or control of access to, pasture; ideas of providence, fate and superstition; and a concern for federation that flows into descriptions of the coming Australian in later chapters. Each of the characters provides a portrait of bush types that Furphy uses to measure the qualities of squatters and others against popular ideas of the 'gentleman'. Furphy's choice of a narrative structure to create a 'loosely federated' series of yarns is itself a critique of popular narratives populated by stock characters who are driven by action that leads to predictable and uncomplicated conclusions. Tom Collins, the unreliable narrator, adds further complications by claiming to 'read men like signboards' while all the time being unknowingly contradicted by circumstances that become obvious to the reader.
In each subsequent chapter Tom Collins leads the reader through a series of experiences chosen from his diaries. In chapter two, Collins meets the boundary rider Rory O'Halloran and his daughter, Mary, a symbol of the coming Australian whose devotion to her father will have tragic consequences in chapter five. There are many links between chapters like this one that remain invisible to Collins, despite his attempts to understand the 'controlling alternatives' that affect our lives. In chapter three Tom loses his clothes crossing the Murray River and spends the night wandering naked until he is able to steal a pair of pants after diverting attention by setting fire to a haystack. In chapter four Collins helps an ailing Warrigal Alf by deceiving several boundary riders who have impounded Alf's bullocks. In chapter five, among other yarns of lost children, Thompson completes the tragic tale of Mary O'Halloran, connecting with the events of chapter two. Chapters six and seven take Tom Collins back to Runnymede Station where he attempts to avoid an unwelcome union with Maud Beaudesart. He also meets the disfigured boundary rider, Nosey Alf, whose life story Furphy has threaded throughout the narrative, signs not perceived by Tom Collins. When Collins returns to Runnymede at the end of the novel, Furphy ties up more loose narrative threads, but Tom Collins, the narrator, remains oblivious to the end.
In short, Such Is Life 'reflects the preoccupations of [the 1890s]: contemporary capitalism, ardent Australian nationalism, the difficulties of pioneering pastoralism, and speculation about a future Australian civilization. It was instantly seen as a major example of the "radical nationalism" of the time and praised for its realistic representation of life on the frontier in the 1880s. But it was forty years before many readers realized that the novel was also a subtle comment on fiction itself and that within it were hidden stories that revealed a world of "romance" within its "realist" representation of life. Such Is Life can be read as the first experimental novel in Australian literature and the first Australian literary expression of a twentieth-century sensibility of the provisionality of life and reality.' (Julian Croft, 'Joseph Furphy.' in Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 230.)North Ryde : Angus and Robertson , 1987
'Jonah, born a hunchback, is feared and revered in equal measure as the ruthless leader of the Push, a violent gang that terrorises the slums of Waterloo. Chook, a fellow member of the Push, is Jonah's loyal best friend. But after a chance encounter with his son, the result of a casual affair, Jonah decides to abandon the larrikin life and settle down. He marries Ada, the mother of his child, and takes advantage of an opportunity to open his own business. Chook, too, leaves the Push and finds love in the arms of factory worker, Pinkey. But can either man escape his awful past?'
Source: Publisher's blurb (Text Publishing edition).North Ryde : Eden Paperbacks , 1988
'At the age of 13 Sidney Kidman ran away from home with only five shillings in his pocket. He went on to become a horse dealer, drover, cattle buyer and bush jockey and he also ran a coach business. Above all, Kidman created a mighty cattle empire of more than a hundred stations, fighting droughts, bushfires, floods and plagues of vermin to do so. His enterprise and courage won him a huge fortune and made him a legend. ' (Publication summary)North Ryde : Eden Paperbacks , 1988
Back cover of the Magpie version states: 'Sudden death rides the roads, racing abreast of mighty wheels that carry a magnificent enterprise deep into the heart of a law-shy country. Here is an epic of men who fight with bare hands for the things they want. Here is the story of men whose lives are ruled by violence. Famous author Will Lawson brings to life these hectic days of Australia's early history, and tells this tale of Cobb & Co. in his own inimitable manner. Packed with action and drama, it's a story you won't put down from first page to last.'North Ryde : Eden Paperbacks , 1988
'Bush Studies is famous for its stark realism—for not romanticising bush life, instead showing all its bleakness and harshness.
'Economic of style, influenced by the great nineteenth-century Russian novelists, Barbara Baynton’s short-story collection presents the Australian bush as dangerous and isolating for the women who inhabit it.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)Sydney : Eden Paperbacks , 1989
'Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is on leave, staying with an old friend near Adelaide. Ben Wickham, a meteorologist whose uncannily accurate forecasts have helped farmers all over Australia, until recently lived nearby. But he has died after a three week drinking binge and a doctor certified death resulting from delirium tremens. Yet Bony's host insists that whatever Ben died of, it wasn't alcohol.' (Publication summary)North Ryde : Eden Paperbacks , 1989
'It was the end of an era; a year of ‘outlandish happenings’; a time when everything seemed to change for Charlie Reeve, a daydreaming lad growing up in a small town on the Mornington Peninsula.
'His teacher and dad are giving him a hard time, his neighbour Squid keeps getting him into trouble, and his best mate Johnno is busy seeing a girl—which leads Charlie to a nasty fight with Big Simmons.
'First published in 1965, and subsequently made into a popular ABC TV series, All the Green Year is the story of a boy’s journey towards adulthood—‘not only the humour of it but its drama and pain’, as the 96-year-old Don Charlwood writes in his revised afterword.
'This Text Classics edition of one of Australia’s most loved coming-of-age novels comes with a new introduction by Michael McGirr, author of the bestseller Things You Get for Free. (Publication summary : Text Classics)North Ryde : Eden Paperbacks , 1989
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