BURN book cover   Burn
David Ireland

Cover photograph of Sergeant Reg Saunders, from the Australian War Memorial

Dustjacket synopsis:
"A novel of extraordinary power and irony, where a half-caste and fringe-dwelling Aboriginal daydreams not of his glorious tribal warrior-past but rather of his fighting in the 'white man's war...'"

"A remarkable book...Mr Ireland is a major novelist." - Martyn Gott, Daily Telegraph
"...the best novel about the Aborigines I have ever read...it has the makings of a classic." - Douglas Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald
"...a simply told, complexly imagined work. As well as being a novel of great distinction, it is possibly the most important book ever written about Aboriginals" - Neil Jillett, Melbourne Herald
"It is my guess David Ireland has put the true flavour of Australian English on the literary map." - Helen Brown, Canberra Times
"...the fighting and the misery is first-hand...Those who will not look in concern will be made to look in alarm." - Kylie Tenannt, Sydney Morning Herald
"Burn is a book which rips the blindness from your eyes: Mr Ireland knows how to make you see - and smell and hear - what he is writing about." - R.F. Brissenden, The Australian
"...a very satisfying book in many ways, not the least in the power it has to invade and qualify areas of one's own experience." - Jeremy Brooks, Sunday Times
"Ireland has done something very challenging...Although his protagonist has still to determine his true function, and although he is fighting in reaction to his own insignificance, we begin to sense where reconciliation is possible..." - Adrian Mitchell, Meanjin

First Paragraph:

Outside one of the six huts there's a pair of legs watching a stick stuck in the sand and a set line that dips down from it into the river still high from November rain. The line's been out two days. The shanties are stumbled almost into line on the steeply eroded river bank across the bridge from Myoora and a quarter-mile upstream.

From thirty thousand feet up, Myoora is a bulge on the road spearing south to the Kelly country. A single seedpod, brown and dry, left from another year on a thin twig of bottlebrush. At eye-level it's a town with one pub, three churches, sports ground, bridge over the Murrumbidgee, general store, butcher's shop and a few dozen houses.

To men of another time Myoora meant camp. Resting place. No one remembers now. An old tree fallen in the river and drowned lifts wet arms towards the bank for help.

From the Sirius paperback edition, 1989.

This page and its contents are copyright © 1998-2001 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: May 16, 2001.