BookBrowse Reviews Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

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Boy Swallows Universe

by Trent Dalton

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton X
Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2019, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 7, 2020, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis
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A marvelous, gritty coming-of-age novel set in 1980s Australia.

Debut novelist Trent Dalton has crafted an alluring and literary account of the coming-of-age of two brothers who manage to thrive despite their parents' destructive habits. Chapter titles in this substantial (464 page) novel consist of three words: "Boy Writes Words," "Boy Loses Luck," "Boy Stirs Monster," "Boy Steals Ocean," "Boy Bites Spider," "Girl Saves Boy." Energetic, often poetic prose is narrated in first-person by protagonist Eli Bell.

Eli lives in Darra (a rough, industrial suburb of Brisbane), where most residents are descended from Polish WW2 survivors or Vietnamese refugees. Eli; his brother August, known as Gus; his mum and Mum's boyfriend Lyle live in a wooden house hand-built by Lyle's father, who was a Holocaust survivor. Lyle works in a factory, and deals heroin on the side. Eli states: "…the worst thing Lyle ever did was get my mum on drugs. I guess the best ...

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Beyond the Book:
  Brisbane, Australia

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