"With a poet's eye for the fine detail, David Malouf has written a rare, sparkling evocation of an Australian boyhood in the forties, of the pubs and brothels of the fifties, and the years away overseas. An affectionately outrageous portrait, Johnno recreates the sleazy tropical half-city that was wartime Brisbane and captures a generation locked in combat with the elusive Australian Dream."
"Memorable and mythological" - Douglas Stewart, Sydney Morning Herald
"A delight" - Anne Summers, Adelaide Advertiser
"Unique...what a book!" - David Rowbotham, Brisbane Courier Mail
My father was one the fittest men I have ever known. A great sportsman in his day, boxer, swimmer, amateur footballer, he was still bull-shouldered and hard even at sixty, though a good deal of his muscle had gone to fat. He didn't drink. He hadn't smoked since a day during the First War when he'd accepted a bet and thrown a whole packet of Capstans over Victoria Bridge. Except for the occasional cold, he had never had a day's illness that I could remember. Two weeks before his death he had been examined for a new insurance policy. When the report arrived, on the morning of his funeral, it declared him to be A1 in every respect.
I was out of the country again on study leave, and the telegram announcing his heart attack caught me in the mist of a whole series of muddles that I had simply to leave where they were, all untidy ends, while I got a plane booking, scraped up the money to pay for it, and started back.
From the Penguin paperback edition, 1986.
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Last modified: April 12, 2004.