Author(s): Roger McDonald
The year young Australians sailed off to war in high hopes of adventure, only to find themselves faced with disaster.
The tragedy and violence of Gallipoli provide the climax to this very personal, moving and surprisingly romantic story. With remarkable skill and in achingly beautiful prose, Roger McDonald takes the reader on an archetypal Australian journey which parallels the nation's progress from its country childhood, through the adolescent exuberance of its young cities, to initiation on one of the world's ancient battlefields.
It is a vital journey, haunted by menace and disillusionment, one embedded in our national mythology. This astonishing first novel, published to great critical acclaim in 1979 and since then selling over 100,000 copies, tells the story of two boys from the bush, the thoughtful and awkward Walter and his knowing friend Billy Mackenzie, and their girls Frances and Diana. Together they discover a future which seems full of promise, drawing them into the exciting turmoil of passion and war. But theirs is a fateful alliance, in a world all too quickly passing, with an outcome they never could have foreseen.
Roger McDonald was born at Young, NSW, and educated at country schools and in Sydney. For many years he has lived on farms (no farm animals except poultry and a corrugated iron sheep these days) in southern NSW, with intervals spent in Sydney and New Zealand. His first novel was 1915, winner of the Age Book of the Year, and made into an eight-part ABC-TV series (available on DVD and olooking like a bleached-out relic of a forgotten age when they just happened to have television,o he says). His account of travelling the outback with a team of New Zealand shearers, Shearers' Motel, won the National Book Council Banjo Award for non-fiction. His internationally bestselling novel Mr Darwin's Shooter, was awarded the New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian Premiers' Literary Awards. The Ballad of Desmond Kale won the 2006 Miles Franklin Award and South Australian Festival Prize for Fiction. A long story that became part of When Colts Ran was awarded the O. Henry Prize (USA) in 2008. A companion novel, The Following (2013) attracted readers as a eulogy to country life at the close of a hard era. McDonald maintains a writing interest with a new book every three or so years and has eight titles in print with Penguin Random House. His other novels are Slipstream, Rough Wallaby, Water Man, and The Slap.As a writer with oa sure, steady command of how the Australian bush looks, smells and feels, in each season and in all types of weathero (Mark Thomas, Canberra Times) McDonald once swore onever to do water or grasso, but with his tenth novel, A Sea-Chase, he upends all that and goes to sea.oWriting about the sea came as a revelation,o says McDonald, opartly the result of going to New Z