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The tragedy and violence of that event provide the climax to this very personal, moving and surprisingly romantic story. With remarkable skill and in achingly beautiful prose, Roger McDonald takes the reader on an archetypal Australian journey which parallels the nation's progress from its country childhood, through the adolescent exuberance of its young cities, to initiation on one of the world's ancient battlefields. It is a vital journey, haunted by menace and disillusionment, one embedded in our national mythology. This astonishing first vel, published to great critical acclaim in 1979 and since then selling over 100,000 copies, tells the story of two boys from the bush, the thoughtful and awkward Walter and his kwing friend Billy Mackenzie, and their girls Frances and Diana. Together they discover a future which seems full of promise, drawing them into the exciting turmoil of passion and war. But theirs is a fateful alliance, in a world all too quickly, with an outcome they never could have foreseen.
Roger McDonald was born at Young, New South Wales, and educated at country schools and in Sydney. He began his working life as a teacher, ABC producer, and book editor, wrote poetry for several years, but in his thirties turned to fiction, expressing the feeling that for him, at least, poetry was unable to express a full range of characters and moods, the larger panorama of Australian life that I felt was there to portray . His first novel was 1915, a novel of Gallipoli, winner of the Age Book of the Year, and made into a highly successful eight-part ABC-TV mini-series (now on DVD). Slipstream, Rough Wallaby, Water Man and The Slap followed, each of these novels drawing intensively on imaginative, poetic takes on rural living. The poetry of fiction is not a writing style but something in people's lives, where a place or a season, an occupation or an obsession transforms existence - where something powerful but not perhaps well understood by the participants creates the drama out of a handful of dust and a few drops of water. I like the humour of observation, - he says. Describe accurately, get a laugh, the sting of truth is always surprising. Trust the Australian accent an