Historical fiction set in Australian cities

Shadowboxing

Shadowboxing

Tony Birch

Shadowboxing is a collection of ten linked stories in the life of a boy growing up in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy in the 1960s. A beautifully rendered time capsule, it captures a period of decay, turmoil and change...

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 Read reviewWhen the Night Comes

When the Night Comes

Favel Parrett

From award-winning author of Past The Shallows, Favel Parrett, a story about the moments that change us and the moments that save us.

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 Read reviewFrom the Wreck

From the Wreck

Jane Rawson

‘It's hard to find the right words to praise this novel. I think we need a whole new critical vocabulary to be invented. Rawson recreates a vanished historical world with utterly convincing characters as well as inhabits the...

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 Read reviewThe Golden Age

The Golden Age

Joan London

Written in Joan London’s customary clear-eyed prose, The Golden Age evokes a time past and a yearning for deep connection. It is a rare and precious gem of a book from one of Australia’s finest novelists.

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Maestro

Maestro

Peter Goldsworthy

Set in Darwin, Paul Crabbe meets Eduard Keller, a Viennese refugee with a mysterious past. Keller is the piano teacher and Crabbe the unwilling pupil, for Keller is unspeakably demanding, a relentless disciplinarian. But as more...

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The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden

Kate Morton

A lost child On the eve of the first world war, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her - but the Authoress has disappeared without a trace. A...

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Dark fires shall burn

Dark fires shall burn

Anna Westbrook

Inspired by the true events of an unsolved murder.

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 Read reviewDocument Z

Document Z

Andrew Croome

A masterful, taut and atmospheric novel of political espionage and intrigue, telling the story of the Petrov defection during the Cold War of the 1950s. Winner of the 2008 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award.

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The Secret River

The Secret River

Kate Grenville

A universal and timeless story of love, identity and belonging

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The Portrait of Molly Dean

The Portrait of Molly Dean

Katherine Kovacic

An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years...

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My Brother Jack

My Brother Jack

George Johnston

Through the story of the two brothers, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths: that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest Aussie battler, whose...

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The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

Fergus Hume, Geordie Williamson

The original blockbuster crime novel, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.

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On The Beach

On The Beach

Nevil Shute

After the war is over, a radioactive cloud begins to sweep southwards on the winds, gradually poisoning everything in its path. An American submarine captain is among the survivors left sheltering in Australia, preparing with the...

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 Read reviewNine Days

Nine Days

Toni Jordan

Multi-generational story about two families and the love affair that brings them together, told in the voices of nine people and the day that changes their life forever.

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 Read reviewCairo

Cairo

Chris Womersley

A summer of liberation leads to a teenage boy becoming caught up in the notorious heist of Picasso's Weeping Woman.

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The Getting of Wisdom: Text Classics

The Getting of Wisdom: Text Classics

Henry Handel Richardson, Dr. Germaine Greer

The classic Australian novel of school days, a compelling and frank account of a young girl's coming of age.

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The Floating Garden

The Floating Garden

Emma Ashmere

Sydney, Milsons Point, 1926. Entire streets are being demolished for the building of the Harbour Bridge. Ellis Gilbey, landlady by day, gardening writer by night, is set to lose everything. Only the faith in the book shes writing,...

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 Read reviewUtopian Man

Utopian Man

Lisa Lang

1880s. Marvellous Melbourne is a lavish and raucous city where anything could happen. Entrepreneur Edward William Cole is building the Cole's Book Arcade and filling it with whatever amuses him: a giant squid, a brass band,...

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The Harp in the South: Popular Penguins

The Harp in the South: Popular Penguins

Ruth Park

Hugh and Margaret Darcy are raising their family in Sydney amid the brothels, grog shops and rundown boarding houses of Surry Hills, where money is scarce and life is not easy. This Australian classic will take you straight back...

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Women In Black: Text Classics

Women In Black: Text Classics

Madeleine St.John, Bruce Beresford

Written by a superb novelist of contemporary manners, this is a fairytale which illuminates the extraordinariness of ordinary lives.

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Johnno

Johnno

David Malouf

Semi-autobiographical, the novel perfectly captures the ragged modernisation of Brisbane and the sense of a generation locked in combat with the elusive Australian Dream.

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The Slow Natives

The Slow Natives

Thea Astley

'If one saw behind the faces into the hearts, one would die.'A suburban couple have drifted into the shallows of middle-aged boredom. Their fourteen-year-old son is a stranger, meeting their attempts at love with hostile...

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 Read reviewWhen the Lyrebird Calls

When the Lyrebird Calls

Kim Kane

When Madeleine is shipped off to stay with her eccentric grandmother for the holidays, she expects the usual: politics, early-morning yoga, extreme health food, and lots of...

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Territory

Territory

Judy Nunn

A breathtaking story of disaster, courage and passion and that Top End spirit that never says die.

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Cloudstreet

Cloudstreet

Tim Winton

From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch. For twenty years they roister and...

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 Read reviewThe Young Desire It

The Young Desire It

Kenneth Mackenzie, David Malouf

Published in London in 1937 to wide acclaim, The Young Desire It a stunning debut novel about coming of age: intimate & lyrical account of first love, & rich evocation of rural Western Australia. It won Australian Literature...

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 Read reviewThat Deadman Dance

That Deadman Dance

Kim Scott

In playful, musical prose, this book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers. The novel's hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy.

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Bridget Crack

Bridget Crack

Rachel Leary

Van Diemen's Land, 1826. A desperate convict flees into the wilderness. But the land that hides her will show her no mercy. A brilliant literary debut from a writer of rare talent.

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 Read reviewRazorhurst

Razorhurst

Justine Larbalestier

Kelpie and Dymphna are accustomed to the mean streets of 1930s Sydney, but this is a day that will test their courage, their loyalty, and their ability to survive both the ill-intentions of the living and the ever-presence of the...

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The Sound of One Hand Clapping

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Richard Flanagan

FROM THE WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014In the winter of 1954, in a construction camp in the remote Tasmanian highlands, when Sonja Buloh was three years old and her father was drinking too much, her mother disappeared into a...

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 Read reviewThe Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex

The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex

Gabrielle Williams

A rock chick. An artist with attitude. A girl with a past. A party animal. Four lives collide when one of the world's most famous paintings is stolen. It's a mystery that has the nation talking, but while Picasso's Weeping Woman...

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 Read reviewThe Year It All Ended

The Year It All Ended

Kirsty Murray

On Armistice Day 1918 Tiney Flynn turns seventeen and it feels as though her life is just beginning. Her brother and his friends are coming home from the Great War and her sisters are falling in love. But Tiney and her family find...

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Runner

Runner

Robert Newton

Charlie's father is dead and Charlie has to leave school to support himself and his mother. Squizzy Taylor, the notorious underworld criminal, employs Charlie as his runner. Charlie has a quick mind and can outrun any boy around,...

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The Art of the Engine Driver

The Art of the Engine Driver

Steven Carroll

On a hot summer's night in the 1950s, the old and the new, diesel and steam, town and country all collide - and nobody will be left unaffected. The Art of the Engine Driver is a luminous and evocative tale of ordinary suburban...

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The Gift of Speed

The Gift of Speed

Steven Carroll

When the West Indies cricket team arrive in Australia in the summer of 1960, Michael at 16, is enthralled. As the summer unfolds, Michael realises that he has learnt many things, about his parents, his suburb, a girl and himself....

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 Read reviewThe Time We Have Taken

The Time We Have Taken

Steven Carroll

A luminous exploration of public and private reckoning in a Melbourne suburb during the upheavals of the 1970s. It is a celebration of the rhythms and the intricacies of suburban life, as well as a meditation on its limits.

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Forever Young

Forever Young

Steven Carroll

The fifth novel in the acclaimed Glenroy series by multi-award winning novelist Steven Carroll. Shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier's Literary Award and the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary AwardAnd is...

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Grand Days

Grand Days

Frank Moorhouse

Set in Geneva in the inter-war period, this book conveys all the high idealism of that benighted period in European history. It charts the rite of passage of Edith Berry, from wilfulness and self-delusion to a more humble and...

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Dark Palace

Dark Palace

Frank Moorhouse

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Cold Light

Cold Light

Frank Moorhouse

Winner of the Queensland Literary Award. Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and the Barbara Jefferis Prize.It is 1950, the League of Nations has collapsed and the newly formed United Nations...

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