The Dickens Boy
By the author of Schindler’s Ark and master storyteller, Thomas Keneally, a vibrant novel about Charles Dickens’ son and his adventures in the Australian Outback.
In 1868, Charles Dickens dispatches his youngest child to Australia. Like his brother Alfred before him, sixteen-year-old Edward is expected to learn to apply himself in what his father considers to be the new land of opportunity.
Posted to a remote sheep station in New South Wales, Edward discovers that Charles Dickens’ fame has reached even there, as has the gossip about his father’s scandalous liaison with an actress. Amid colonists, ex-convicts, local tribespeople and a handful of eligible young women, Edward strives to be his own man – and keep secret the fact that he’s read none of his father’s novels.
Conjuring up a life of sheep-droving, horse-racing and cricket tournaments in a community riven with tensions and prejudice, the story of Edward’s adventures also affords an intimate portrait of Dickens’ himself. This vivacious novel is classic Keneally: historical figures and events re-imagined with verve, humour and compassion.
Keneally's gift, and his blessing to the many hundreds of characters he has created, is always to find the extraordinary within the ordinary. Each of them rises out of and above their varying backgrounds: the class, religion, ambition that mark but do not define them. * The Australian * Keneally has a Tolstoy-like gift for getting into his characters' heads, as well as for portraying great turns of history in scenes of everyday life. * Dallas Morning News * Fine writing that has the power to entice modern readers and those interested in the truthful reflection of the human spirit, no matter the place, culture or generation. * New York Daily News * Keneally is especially good at rendering the small psychological adjustments made between people embarking on intimacy * New York Times Book Review * No one equals Keneally for documenting the actions of human beings caught up in war, some desperate to hold onto their humanity, others desperate to die. * Publishers Weekly * He does an extraordinary job of making all his characters compelling and sympathetic * Kirkus Reviews * [Keneally] looks into the heart of the human condition with a piercing intelligence that few can match. * Sunday Telegraph * He weaves his magic and the reader falls under his spell. * Guardian *
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