Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself. Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals—Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring—are finding their own ways to respond to them.
Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.
Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a brilliantly written book, a groundbreaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.
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Loosely inspired by the legendary Sydney bohemian Bea Miles, Kate Grenville’s much-loved debut novel recounts the life of the irrepressible Lilian Una Singer: from wealthy middle-class girlhood under the rule of a monstrous father, to outspoken independence in adulthood, and eventually sleeping rough on the city’s streets in later years, her spirit undaunted. Bold, exuberant and richly imaginative, Lilian’s Story was acclaimed as a masterpiece on its publication in 1985. It is unforgettable.
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s most celebrated writers. Her international bestseller The Secret River was awarded local and overseas prizes, has been adapted for the stage and as an acclaimed television miniseries, and is now a much-loved classic. Grenville’s other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Dark Places and the Orange Prize winner The Idea of Perfection. Her most recent books are two works of non-fiction, One Life: My Mother’s Story and The Case Against Fragrance, and the bestselling 2020 novel A Room Made of Leaves. She has also written three books about the writing process. In 2017 Grenville was awarded the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. She lives in Melbourne.
‘Dazzling fiction of universal appeal.’ Patrick White
‘Very moving and sometimes funny...Evocative and poetic.’ Elizabeth Jolley
‘A work of considerable beauty and power...An uncompromising vision...told with honesty and virtuosity.’ New York Times Book Review
‘One of the great Australian novels...Luminous...A triumph.’ Australian Book Review
A stunning follow-up to her Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winning book, The Secret River, Grenville’s The Lieutenant is a gripping story of friendship, self-discovery, and the power of language set along the unspoiled shores of 1788 New South Wales, Australia.
As a boy, Daniel Rooke was an outsider. Ridiculed in school for his intellect and misunderstood by his parents, he finds a path for himself in the British Navy—and in his love for astronomy. As a young lieutenant, Daniel joins a voyage to Australia. And while his countrymen struggle to control their cargo of convicts and communicate with nearby Aboriginal tribes, Daniel constructs an observatory to chart the stars and begin the work he prays will make him famous.
Out on his isolated point, Daniel becomes involved with the local Aborigines, forging an intimate connection with one girl that will change the course of his life. But when his compatriots come into conflict with the indigenous population, Daniel must turn away from the stars and declare his loyalties on the ground.