The Boys in the Island
Christopher J Koch
1974 - revised edition
"Set in Tasmania and Melbourne, The Boys in the Island traces the development of a sensitive and introspective boy through the trials, the passions and the discoveries of adolescence, from the green island of innocence to the big smoke on the mainland and back again - to an island that has somehow changed."
"memorably vivid and moving...The author has the rare capacity for total recall of childhood imagingings, with all their scope and poignancy" - Alan Nichols, The Age
"Another of those astonishing novels that have gone a long way towards changing the nature of Australian fiction...its strength lies in the vivid nature of Mr Koch's writing." - Sidney Baker, Sydney Morning Herald
This version The Boys in the Island incorporates fairly extensive revision and additions made for my present publishers.
It is my hope that anyone referring to the book, or quoting from it, will go to no other edition but this one, which entirely replaces the original of 1958.
The little boy stood looking at the Soons. Soon! Soon! Soon! they hummed; and it was not words the way people spoke words, it was a long humming song, going on and on. But he knew that it said Soon, and that he was meant to listen to it. He stood and listened.
No people came in sight: there was only himself here, looking at the Soons. The brown-grassed country was very flat, stretching into the distance. It was not daytime or night-time here it was both: the air was dark around some concrete buildings nearby, but around the Soons it was blank and bright as water. And because no people came, the little boy was especially small in front of the buildings and the huge Soons, singing and droning at him in the centre of the brown flat land which belnged to them, stepping across it in a line, getting smaller as they went, to where th eland rolled over and disappeared. Each one of them, although they seemed to march, really stodd quite still. The farthest of them were very tiny, but the one directly in front of him was very big and tall. Its face was a round silver frown. It stood like a giant spoon on its latticed handle, making the noise of power: Soon! Soon! Soon!
From the Sirius paperback edition, 1979.
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Last modified: March 28, 2002.