The cast of characters includes figures historical and fictional, black and white, convict and settler. Get your copy of The Timeless Land here. A young woman pushed through the hospital doors. Staff would later say they thought the woman was a new mother, returning to her child — and in a way, she was. She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. There is CCTV footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news.
The woman walked out to the car park, towards an old Corolla. For a moment, she held the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smelled her. Diamond Dove is a great fun read, a crime novel with a true larrikin spirit. That means it has real wit; dry, earthy and with no bullshit. Hyland has written the kind of book we need so much more of in this country. He quizzes the fraught, complex world of the outback with a critical eye but he also paints with rare clarity a picture of both black and white lives that is filled with compassion and affection.
Get your copy of Diamond Dove here. Disco Boy is a novel about putting things off. This is a laugh out loud funny, sweet and aware novel with poignant under tones. Everyone will identify to some degree with the lives of Paul, Zoe, Nige, Simon, Flea, Lucy well maybe not Lucy as they set out on their adult lives of discovering who they are supposed to be.
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Get your copy of Disco Boy here. The London season is in full fling at the end of the s, but the Honourable Phryne Fisher — she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions — is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia. Almost immediately from the time she books into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism — not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse — until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.
Those who are closest to him struggle to come to terms with their loss. Friendships are strained, marriages falter and loyalties are tested in a gripping and brilliantly crafted novel about loss, grief and desire. Told from the points of view of nine of the people who are mourning Rory, this riveting novel presents a vivid snapshot of contemporary suburban Australia and how we live now.
Marriage, friendship, family-all are dissected with great psychological insight as they start to unravel under the pressure of grief. The characters live on the page; their lives are unfolded and their dilemmas are as real as our own. Get your copy of Last Summer here.
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While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. Follow John: Twitter Website. Shit is reality TV. Lost… you get the drill. I edited that from the original post but forgot to edit it from the full fifty. After I wrote it I felt I was being shortsighted. So I cut it out. My bad. On the other hand, I am glad you found it.
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It tells me readers are not just skimming down the list. When I finished it I was convinced I would never read anything better. I was wrong, of course. Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony is ok. Quite obviously I have a different taste in literature than yourself Cheers Diane.
OK list. These will be the biggest WA stories to hit the big screen, exciting stuff…. What about the merrygoround by the sea. A wonderful piece of literature. Any thoughts? I think Hal Porter snuck in because most considered that a novel. I love A Fortunate Life and believe everyone should read it. No Morris West book included? Shoes of the Fisherman has never been out of print and is still considered to be the pope of all papal fiction!! It would be interesting to do a tally of some kind to see how many historical, how many about the outback etc are featured.
I have a feeling Australian novelists have been accused of obsessing over human vs landscape as a theme. Which is interesting since most Australians live in cities. Echo the call for My Place. Just alerting any readers to my most recent novel which is set in Little Lon Is he writing the sequel because if it is half as good it will be brilliant. Surpising choices for Patrick White and Peter Malouf, but on the whole a great list. How embarassing — I looked through the list again and saw that the getting of wisdom is included.
Forgive my rashness! The media made it a bigger hit due to content and although the subject was a great choice, I felt the book was disappointing. Definitely not in the same league as other choices. I both loved and hated The Slap. Many acquaintances were reading it at the same time, and there was much passionate debate and argument about the issues that Tsiolkas raised, the characters attitudes and behaviours, their origins.
A great work of art is one that challenges the reader, creates unease and discomfort and this certainly did that. On an entirely different note I was delighted to see Kylie Tennant included in the Great list. I have read eleven of the entries and have three more on my shelves waiting. I will keep this list for reference, thank you for doing all that works for us. I agree, Gail Jones is fabulous. Hi Trish, I agree. I will be holding a new poll in the first days of January.
Be sure to vote then. Thanks for your interest, John. Australian stories Tales From Oz. Diamond Dove — bright, breezy, dramatic and highly entertaining but surely not Top 50 material. Postage to the UK is expensive. We cut it down to the bare minimum but we are not able to influence rates freight companies charge us. That day will come. Year of Wonders is one for example. Books by Australian writers were chosen. Australian writers have written wonderful books not set in Australia. I would not want to see them miss out being read because of that.
We decided that only one book per author would be listed. Australian Contemporary Fiction - Underexposed! I have read 21 of these. Now it is time to get a move on and try some of those I have missed. Thanks for the list. Shame on the publishers for dropping The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony, one of the best Australian books of all time.
Great non-fiction book but novel! I have read Kal, Maralinga and Heritage. All books are a must read. If my mother had been more adventurous, I may have been an Aussie now. The Fatal Shore is missing on your list, which is a pity. You have to be kidding! Picnic at Hanging Rock as number two? The Book Thief only at number three?
I love it, but thought hardly anyone else knew it. However there is no mention that this is one that would get the Janet Evanovich fans into Australian fivtion…. Magnificent book. Also Captivity Captive by Rodney Hall? Beautiful writing. New Tim Winton novel due in October Rod Usher.
All great novels. Please get him listed next time. A long time ago a read a novel about a rancher -based all on his development of his ranch and family dynasty. It covers before and after WW1. Would love to read it again. Its written in first person by the main character towards the end of his life from his hospital bed seeing all his family visitors and deciding who he should leave his property to- any suggestions? You must be referring to Cattleman by RS Porteous. I believe it was published in around , and is probably long out of print.
My grandfather himself a grazier gave me Cattleman, and another Porteous novel, Brigadoon, to read when I was a child. R S Porteous wrote this one as well, about Qld cattle country before cactoblastis ate out all the prickly pear. I love this book and re read it every year or so.
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Hope you find it at a library near you to enable you to read it again! Original and entertaining to read. One day I hope to be on this list. You could have replaced the first odd entries with Robert G.
He was the Jimi Hendrix of Australian authors. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions! This list does not include any of my favourite Australian authors. I am so disappointed with this list. I consider myself an avid reader, and I read a lot of Australian stuff. Rather than be disappointed you should be so happy to have stumbled upon this list — so much more fantastic Aussie writing to read — along with other suggestions offered by those reacting to the list with further leads beyond the 50!
The biggest oversight seems to be a lack of indigenous writers, Sally Morgan, My Place for a start. Looking for an aboriginal coming of age story about a boy traversing the land looking for a spirit, finding it in a very small rock when he reaches the ocean. Heard the book read on the radio about — The reader I thought read it does not remember it. AusReading Month November ipsofactodotme. Thanks for the list! Is Peter Carey a national treasure yet?! Glad to see Disco Boy made it to the list. Its a great contemporary read. Thanks for putting up the list, now i got lots more to read!
I live in the Netherlands. I liked it much more than Praise. Definitely recommend it for those wanting a classic Australian read. Thoughts of my wife vibrated in my mind after I read it. I picked it up for 40p so I think it was a real bargain! I enjoyed reading this blog. Very informative. Interesting to peruse the list.
Obviously I have some reading to do…. A Little Light Reading — Waterblogged. I came across an Australian novel that seems to be rather a hidden away book. The overall love story is beautiful too! Janet Turner Hospital is a brilliant yet seriously neglected Australian novelist. Totally agree with your opinion of The Watcher on the Cast iron Balcony! I was fortunate enough to have had to study this in high school with a fabulous English teacher who brought the tales to life.
Thank so much for this brilliant list. No negative comments from me. Gerald Brooks is a fabulous Sydney born writer. All her books are first class.
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Real Aussie outback romantic-crime novels must go to Bronwyn Parry. Have read many and half to go. Looking forward to it. Can anyone tell me the name and author of same. The story was based in the Burke era of government. It seems unknown here in Australia, not in libraries, not in print. I think Fields of Fire was based on the cane fields of Quensland. Any thoughts please? Stellar list. Would have loved to have seen Randolph Stow and Chloe Hooper but hey. Best wishes from Canada. Great list; I look forward to exploring these authors. I got here because I am trying to find the name of a book I read on vacation some years back.
It was a huge, sprawling novel, with a unique protagonist POV: he defines himself immediately as someone who does not tell the truth. Unfortunately, that is all that I remember: that, and that I loved it. Can any of you lovely people tell me what it might be? In the event of which, you have read nothing. Or if you have read it, then your literary tastes are constricted indeed. You must enjoy watching cookery shows on television. The one in your list that got me wound up the most was Voss. White had to have been a brilliantly skillful writer, to have induced me to willingly subject myself to his self-indulgence and continue reading to the end.
It is at times hard going but well worth the struggle. Despite having been written in mid 20th century, the style harkens back to 19th century drawing room pretentiousness. So one must accept that aspect of the book as pure fantasy and either go along with it, like a passenger on a midway ride for the sheer pointless thrill of it; or else throw the book against a wall. So what shall we make of Voss, the man? Is he just a poseur, serenely ensconced in his own vanity, mocking the lesser beings around him, but ultimately a man of no consequence?
Certainly, men who dare greatly carry giant egos and an ego needs to be fed, one way or another. Undoubtedly he will achieve much, if only by sheer force of will — or die noisily in the attempt. In the end, his true worth may be shown not by what he achieves but by what sort of man he becomes at the end of it all, either by valiantly perishing or by emerging as a whole human being, no longer a slave to his own ego. That places him in a total win-or-lose struggle: prevail or be destroyed.
I will not reveal here how or if Voss resolves that dilemma; others will have to read the book to find out And what can become of Laura — in her own way an iconoclast too. White himself is every bit as uncompromising as his two protagonists. Would also have liked to have seen Robbery Under Arms somewhere on the list not well enough known these days? Sorry to only encounter it now, 7 years later. In , I spent 9 months in Canberra at ANU and read many of the older books on this list or others by the same authors.
It and a local bookstore structured my spare time in those pre-Amazon and pre-Internet days. Thanks for publishing this list! Water Under the Bridge is possibly my favourite Australian novel. I think the Solid Mandala is better than Voss. How can I register on your website and receive updates and newsletter and be part of the community? You can create an account here. You can also follow us on Twitter here. And you can also follow us on Instagram here. An outstanding share! And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I found it for him… lol.
So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this issue here on your website. Just came across this list, and while it is interesting and informative about what Aussies find classic-worthy , my greatest reaction after reading it? Holy Mutha-f kin shi-take mushrooms! Your email address will not be published. Please click here if you are not redirected within a few seconds. John Purcell, So, for those who have just arrived I shall begin at the beginning. I soon had the top fifty settled. And here they are. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet , where they begin their lives again from scratch.
At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay The Magic Pudding was first cooked in , and thousands of children and their parents have been relishing it ever since. For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke Scarcely out of print since the early s, For the Term of His Natural Life has provided successive generations with a vivid account of a brutal phase of colonial life.
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of , Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. The questions it poses remain unanswered… Get your copy of Power Without Glory here. The Spare Room by Helen Garner Helen has little idea what lies ahead when she offers her spare room to an old friend of fifteen years. Haunting and mesmeric, Eucalyptus illuminates the nature of story-telling itself. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.
The Bodysurfers by Robert Drewe Set among the surf and sandhills of the Australian beach — and the tidal changes of three generations of the Lang family — this bestselling collection of short stories is an Australian classic. Tirra Lirra By the River by Jessica Anderson Liza used to say that she saw her past life as a string of roughly-graded balls, and so did Hilda have a linear conception of hers, thinking of it as a track with detours.
Now in her seventies, Nora returns to Queensland to settle into her childhood home. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough Treasured by readers around the world, this is the sweeping saga of three generations of the Cleary family. For Meggie loves Father Ralph de Bricassart, a man who wields enormous power within the Catholic church … As powerful, moving and unforgettable as when it originally appeared, The Thorn Birds remains a novel to be read … and read again.
The consequences are challenging and unpredictable. V oss by Patrick White Join J. The occasion is a piano lesson, the first of many… Get your copy of Maestro here. Praise by Andrew McGahan Praise is an utterly frank and darkly humorous novel about being young in the Australia of the s. Dog Boy by Eva Hornung Abandoned in a big city at the onset of winter, a hungry four-year-old boy follows a stray dog to her lair.
But in Dog Boy Eva Hornung has created such a vivid and original telling, so viscerally convincing, that it becomes not just new but definitive: Yes, this is how it would be. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett On the verge of her fourteenth birthday, Plum knows her life will change. The Father is Martin Dean. The Uncle is Terry Dean. The Son is Jasper Dean. The Timeless Land by Eleanor Dark An outstanding literary achievement, meticulously researched and deeply felt, its portrait of the earliest days of the European settlement of Australia remains unrivalled.
She then clipped the infant into the car, got in and drove off. That is where the footage ends. Diamond Dove by Adrian Hylands Diamond Dove is a great fun read, a crime novel with a true larrikin spirit. Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood The London season is in full fling at the end of the s, but the Honourable Phryne Fisher — she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions — is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men.
About the Contributor. John Purcell While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Booktopia Book Guru. D Irons. Margaret Tucker. These will be the biggest WA stories to hit the big screen, exciting stuff… Congrats on also taking Aussie lit to the world via this blog!
Cheers, Cynthia C. Michael Tullett. Lisa McArthur. Grace Marks. Chrissie Michaels. Island girl. Jun 03, AM. Jun 04, AM. Jun 05, PM. Jun 06, PM. Jun 07, AM. Jun 07, PM. Jun 08, AM. Jun 10, PM. The Lords of Discipline Conroy! Jun 11, AM. Jun 12, PM. Charmingly Yours Tempted Maya Banks! Jun 13, PM. This was an awesome book! I loved the whole series to date. Definitely alpha guy who really is a jerk but adequately grovelled for me.
Jun 14, PM. Thanks MG! Picked up the highlander one you recommended! Brandy wrote: "Thanks MG! Jun 15, PM. Jun 16, PM. Jun 17, PM. Jun 18, AM. Jun 19, AM. Jun 20, AM. Jun 21, PM. Jun 22, PM. Jun 23, PM. Jun 24, AM. Jun 25, AM. Jun 26, AM. Jun 27, AM. Jun 28, AM.