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Boy swallows universe / Trent Dalton.

By: Dalton, Trent.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Sydney, New South Wales : HarperCollinsPublishers Australia, 2019Copyright date: ©2018Description: 501 pages ; 20 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781460757765; 1460757769.Subject(s): Dysfunctional families -- Fiction | Friendship -- Fiction | Nineteen eighties -- Fiction | Coming of age -- Fiction | Criminals -- Fiction | Brisbane (Qld.) -- FictionGenre/Form: General fiction.Summary: Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer. But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.
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Fiction Collection
Fiction Collection DALT Checked out 22/07/2020

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The bestselling novel that has taken Australia, and the world, by storm.

'Without exaggeration, the best Australian novel I have read in more than a decade ... A rollicking ride, rich in philosophy, wit, truth and pathos' Sydney Morning Herald

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year - an instant Australian classic.

'Trent Dalton is the most extraordinary writer - a rare talent. A major new voice on the Australian literary scene has arrived.' Nikki Gemmell

'An astonishing achievement. Dalton is a breath of fresh air - raw, honest, funny, moving, he has created a novel of the most surprising and addictive nature. Unputdownable.' David Wenham

'I couldn't stop reading from the moment I started, and I still can barely speak for the beauty of it. Trent Dalton has done something very special here, writing with grace, from his own broken heart.' Caroline Overington

'Stunning. My favourite novel for decades. Left me devastated but looking to the heavens.' Tim Rogers

First published: 2018.

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer. But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

Dalton's splashy, stellar debut makes the typical coming-of-age novel look bland by comparison. The novel tracks bright, confused young narrator Eli as he moves through the ages of 12 to 19 in the 1980s in a seedy suburb of Brisbane. Eli's best friends are his older brother, August, an electively mute genius with premonitions of the future, and former felon Slim, his babysitter and a notorious, frequent escapee from a heavily guarded prison. Eli loves his parents, but they're a mess: his mom and step-dad deal heroin, and his dad is a depressed, panic-stricken alcoholic. The novel follows Eli as he nearly gets caught up in dealing drugs himself, discovers a secret room with a mysterious red telephone in his house, breaks into prison to wish his incarcerated mom a merry Christmas, and avenges the wrongs done to his family-all while pursuing his dream of becoming a journalist. In less adept hands, these antics might descend into whimsy, but Dalton's broadly observant eye, ability to temper pathos with humor, and thorough understanding of the mechanics of plot prevent the novel from breaking into sparkling pieces. The author shapes Eli into an appealingly credible hero capable of shaping a future for himself despite a background that doesn't bode well for him. This is an outstanding debut. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Consider Eli Bell of Darra, Australia. His mother, Frankie, and her live-in boyfriend, Lyle, are heroin dealers; his brilliant, visionary brother, August, older by a year, is a selective mute who chooses not to speak; and his best friend is an elderly murderer. Eli is 12 when readers meet him; he will age to 18 through the pages of this marvelous bildungsroman, as circumstances educate him in the ways of the world, which are sometimes heartbreaking. Speaking of which, it should be noted that dealing drugs is dangerous and can make terrible things happen. When they do, Eli and August are reunited with their father, who has long been absent from their lives. Eli has a dream of becoming a journalist when he grows up and of enjoying the romantic company of a working journalist, the beautiful Caitlyn Spies. Meanwhile, the evil Tytus Broz, the Lord of Limbs, and his vile henchman, Iwan Krol, enter Eli's life, bringing with them the possibility of death. There is much more to come in this marvelously plot-rich novel, which told in Eli's first-person voice is filled with beautifully lyric prose (a fat man has legs like the faces of walruses without tusks ; the sun is a white hot god of a thing ). The characterization, too, is universally memorable, especially that of Eli and August. At one point Eli wonders if he is good. The answer is yes, every bit as good as this exceptional novel.--Michael Cart Copyright 2019 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

An Australian teen aspires to reassemble his broken home, bust a drug ring, and decrypt his brother's odd pronouncements.That's a lot for a 12-year-old living outside of Brisbane to take on; and this, Dalton's debut novel, also feels like a case of reach exceeding grasp. But it has the virtue of an earnest and bright narrator in Eli, who, as the story opens in 1985, is living with his mother and her boyfriend, Lyle, who are scraping out a living as small-time heroin dealers. His older brother, August, prefers to communicate by writing in the air with his finger, and his air-scribbles are generally koanlike and inscrutable: "Your end is a dead blue wren," "Boy swallows universe," and such like. The closest thing to a normal person in Eli's life is Slim, an elderly small-time criminal whose knack for prison escapes in his youth has become the stuff of legend. After a falling-out with rival dealers, Lyle is killed, mom is sent to prison, and Eli loses a finger, leaving the brothers to live unhappily with their alcoholic father. Dalton's novel is a kind of picaresque, built around comic scenes amid the grim setting, involving Eli's taking cues from Slim in the ensuing years to either break into things (such as the prison where mom is sentenced) or break out of his desultory existence by angling his way into a journalism internship, where he's determined to reveal the truth about the esteemed businessman who's also a drug kingpin. "A confident sneak can make his own magic," Eli explains. But the magical elements promised in the novel's early pages, mostly via August's non sequiturs, either get abandoned or turn out to be relatively pedantic matters of interpretation.A likable debut that trades its early high-flown ambitions for dramatic but familiar coming-of-age fare. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.