D'arcy Niland Modern Classics The Shiralee

ISBN 13: 9780143180197

Modern Classics The Shiralee

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9780143180197: Modern Classics The Shiralee

"The Shiralee" tells the story of the itinerant rural worker Macauley - sometimes described as a 'swagman' or 'swaggie' - who suddenly finds himself taking responsibility for his child. Having returned from 'walkabout', he finds his wife entwined in the arms of another, and so he takes his four-year-old daughter, Buster, with him. The child is the 'shiralee', an Aboriginal word meaning 'burden'. In their time together, father and daughter explore new depths of understanding and bonding. The barren landscapes of the outback are central to the swagman's love for his country and provide a backdrop to the richness of his developing relationship with Buster.

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About the Author:

D'Arcy Niland was born in Glen Innes, NSW, and spent much of his boyhood travelling with his Irish father, who followed the NSW shearing circuit. He began work as a copyboy on the Sydney Sun but he decided quite early that in order to write about real people he had to travel, work and live amongst them. Accordingly he led an adventurous, rather romantic life, travelling through Australia and the Pacific, working in a wide variety of jobs - as an opal-miner, circus hand, stevedor, woolshed rouseabout and later as a television and film scriptwriter and magazine editor. He married the writer, Ruth Park, and they had five children. D'Arcy Niland died suddenly in 1967 from a heart attack, two days after completing his last novel. He was forty-seven, and well established as one of Australia's best known novelists. The Shiralee, with its insights into fatherhood, confirms that he understood the human heart as well as he knew the country roads of Australia.

From AudioFile:

"Shiralee" is an Australian word for burden. A tough itinerant laborer named Macauley roams Australia's Outback in search of work during the Depression. His burden is Buster, a 4-year-old who may or may not be his daughter. The story moves painfully slowly, sustained only by James Condon's voice and the reader's anticipation of a weighty conclusion. The conclusion turns out to be profoundly simple. Condon's reading, however, is anything but simple. He commands a huge range of characters. Though each is distinctive, they eventually run together, leaving the listener confused yet captivated. The story itself is a metaphor. Listening to it is a burden one finds oddly satisfying in retrospect. D.W.K. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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