Harland's Half Acre
"A story rich in passion and incident and with the obsessive, sometimes violent claims of family life.
"From his poverty-stricken upbringing on a dairy farm in Queensland, Frank Harland nurtures his artistic genius until the time comes when he can take possession of his dreams. Inextricably tangled with Frank is Phil Vernon, the only child of a wealthy Brisbane family, whose roots stretch back to England. Together their voices echo the story of a great country in a novel of remarkable artistry and power."
"Descriptively rich, often funny and written with Malouf's usual precise poetry" - Australian National Times
"Writing of real quality, confident and probing, by a real master of timing" - Daily Telegraph
"Of all Malouf's novels this one is the most satisfying and comprehensive in his vision" - Canberra Times
"A rare novel...rich in descriptive detail...and thoroughly persuasive in its portrayal of a world and an era." - Village Voice Literary Supplement
Named like so much else in Australia for a place on the far side of the globe that its finders meant to honour and were piously homesick for, Killarney bears no resemblance to its Irish original.
It is lush country but of the green, subtropical kind, with sawmills in untidy paddocks, peak-roofed weatherboard farms, and on the skyline of low hills, bunyah pines, hoop pines and Scotch firs of a forbidding blackness. Tin roofs flare out of an acre of stumps. Iron windmills churn. On all sides in the wet months there is a flash of water. These are the so-called lakes. Rising abruptly around fence-posts to turn good pasture for a time into a chain of weed-choked lily-ponds, they are remnants of a sea that feeds one of the great river systems of the continent - fugitive, not always visible above ground, but attracting at all times of the year a variety of waterfowl and real enough to have had, when the native peoples were here, an equally poetic name that no one has bothered to record.
Harlands are brought up on the story of how they won and then lost the land.
From the Penguin paperback edition, 1985.
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Last modified: April 18, 2002.