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The Secret River


The Secret River Cover

ISBN13: 9781841959146
ISBN10: 1841959146
Condition: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

cariola119, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by cariola119)
An unforgettable and disturbing novel. Many reviewers here and elsewhere rightly note that The Secret River is about the white settlement of Australia--but it is so much more. There's a terrible irony in the fact that men like William Thornhill, a struggling London Waterman convicted of theft but transported instead of hanged, saw the "new" continent as a place where they could escape the dehumanization of class and poverty, yet they became the very monsters from which they had gladly fled. Initially, Thornhill is an empathetic character, a man just trying to do a little better for his wife and children. It's his craving for property, a tract of land to work and to call his own, that leads to his personal success--and to his personal tragedy. By putting his insatiable desire for the land ahead of his marriage, his children, his common sense, and even his conscience, Thornhill becomes the empty shell of a man, and we are left to ask whether the individual or the rigid class/wealth structure that is to blame. Is it personal greed or the effects of an environment in which possessing property is viewed as the only mark of a successful man? Just when Thornhill seems finally to have it all, we're left to ask if he really has anything at all.

Grenville does a splendid job of recreating the atmosphere of, first, Victorian London, and, later, the colonial towns and bush settlements of Australia. Her characters (at least the main ones) are complex and believable; and even the lesser characters are well drawn. There are scenes in the book that will haunt and disturb you and others that will just leave you shaking your head. Overall, an engaging novel, well worth reading.
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Roberto, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Roberto)
piercing, rich, beautiful historical fiction of colliding cultures....
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skfurlotte, September 25, 2007 (view all comments by skfurlotte)
The Secret River is a lovely book about the clash of cultures in colonial Australia between the English convicts sent into exile to serve their sentences and the black Aborigines native to the country. The descriptions of the land of New South Wales are fantastic.
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Product Details

Grenville, Kate
Canongate Books
Historical - General
Frontier and pioneer life
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Publication Date:
8.25 x 5.5 in 14 oz

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Secret River Used Trade Paper
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Canongate U.S. - English 9781841959146 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "The most remarkable quality of Kate Grenville's new novel is the way it conveys the enormous tragedy of Australia's founding through the moral compromises of a single ordinary man....Grenville's powerful telling of this story is so moving, so exciting, that you're barely aware of how heavy and profound its meaning is until you reach the end in a moment of stunned sadness." (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)
"Review" by , "A riveting narrative unfolds into a chilling allegory...[a] rich historical novel....Grenville's best, and a giant leap forward."
"Review" by , "Grenville writes lyrically, especially in her description of the Australian landscape, while her gift for the telling phrase...enlivens an essentially dark narrative."
"Review" by , "The narrative offers a fascinating look at the uneasy coexistence between the settlers and the aborigines, as well as at the internal pressures of a marriage where husband and wife nurture contradictory dreams."
"Review" by , "The Secret River is a vivid and moving portrayal of poverty, struggle and the search for peace."
"Synopsis" by ,
In 1806 William Thornhill, an illiterate English bargeman and a man of quick temper but deep compassion, steals a load of wood and, as a part of his lenient sentence, is deported, along with his beloved wife, Sal, to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. The Secret River is the tale of William and Sals deep love for their small, exotic corner of the new world, and Williams gradual realization that if he wants to make a home for his family, he must forcibly take the land from the people who came before him. Acclaimed around the world, The Secret River is a magnificent, transporting work of historical fiction.

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