The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Reviewed by Ron Charles
Washington Post Book World
"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. The Secret River reminds us that national history may be recorded as a succession of larger-than-life leaders and battles, but in fact a country arises from the accretion of personal dreams, private sacrifices and, often, hidden acts of cruelty. The special power of this novel took me off guard because several years ago Grenville wrote one of my favorite romantic comedies, The Idea of Perfection, which won the Orange Prize. Now she's earned the Commonwealth Prize for The Secret River, and though it betrays none of her comic zest, that's just a testament to her range. " Read the entire Washington Post Book World review.