"Andrew McGahan's prize-winning Praise is a stunningly frank and often darkly humorous novel about being young in Australia. About living in a world where drugs and alcohol dominate, where sex scalds and soothes, where Social Security is easier to get than a job. Where survival means taking nothing and no one too seriously.
"Twenty-five-year-old Queensland writer McGahan has, at last, brought the Australian novel up to date."
"Not since Rousseau's Confessions has writing about sexuality brought pleasure and pain so closely together." - Brian Castro
Things started with Cynthia in October.
It was three days after my twenty-third birthday. I'd just quit work at the drive-through bottle shop of the Capital Hotel. I'd been there three years, working twenty hours a week at serving the cars and stacking beer in the fridges. I had no fondness for serving cars or stacking beer, but even so it took an ugly dispute between the staff and the management to get me out. They didn't sack me, but they sacked everyone else, people who'd been there for years longer than me. I showed up for the evening shift and my name was the only one left on the roster. They wanted me to work the next four days straight, twelve hours a day, until they made up the numbers. I'd never worked four days straight in my life. If I'd been a man of strength I would've walked out there and then, left the customers waiting, the manager screaming. I wasn't a man of strength. I waited until the end of the shift. I closed up the shop. Then I resigned. Quietly. The manager asked me why. He asked me if it was something personal. There wasn't much I could say. I was tired. I felt it was time to wind that part of my life down. Work wasn't the answer to anything...
From the Allen and Unwin paperback edition, 1992.
This novel was the winner of the Australian/Vogel Award in 1991.
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Last modified: June 26, 2005.