Like many American readers, I’m more familiar with the history of colonization in North America, so I found this historical novel of Australian settlement–inspired by author Kate Grenville’s own ancestry–fascinating.
In 1806 London, William Thornhill, a bargeman on the Thames, is powerless and desperate enough that he has to steal to survive. Jailed and then deported to the New South Wales colony with his family, he strives to make the new land his own, and find a place for himself as a trader on the Hawkesbury River. How he achieves the power to do so, in a land of Aboriginal settlers and exiled convicts, is a story both violent and heartbreaking. Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2006.
Rating: * * * * Very, very good
Reviewed by: stc
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