DISTURBING ELEMENT book cover Disturbing Element 1965
Cover artwork Harvest by Gail English

Dustjacket synopsis:
"Xavier Herbert is the Disturbing Element in the family he claimed never wanted him. Born into the brutal world of turn-of-the-century Western Australia, he was the son of a prospector turned engine driver. Often comic, often tragic, Disturbing Element traces Herbert's life as he changes careers from pharmacist to doctor to writer. This is the story of an Australian literary legend written in his own classic style."

"He writes with the passion of a great lover and a greater hater." - Manning Clark, Canberra Times

First Paragraph

To avoid the heart-burning that may otherwise be caused by so frank a history as I intend this to be, I am going to be non-specific in dealing witht he people, the places, and even some of the events, concerned. I am fortunate in that the peculiar circumstances of my case make this possible. I can even begin by being non-specific about where I was born, because there is no documentary evidence known to me that designates a place. My late parents did name a place; but they produced no birth certificate as confirmation; and for reasons best known to themselves, they were uncommunicative about that period of their history when I was begotten.

From the Flamingo paperback edition, 1987.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: September 25, 2001.