The White Earth

Andrew McGahan

The White Earth
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The White Earth

Andrew McGahan

One spring day in late 1992, when William was halfway between his eighth birthday and his ninth, he looked out from the back verandah of his home and saw, huge in the sky, the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion. He stared at it, wondering. The thunderhead was dirty black, streaked with billows of grey. It rolled and boiled as it climbed into the clear blue day, casting a vast shadow upon the hills beyond. But there was no sound, no rumble of an explosion. William was aware of the smell of burning … but it was a good smell, a familiar smell. The smell of grass, of wheat, of the farm itself.

His father dead by fire and his mother plagued by demons of her own, William is cast upon the charity of his unknown uncle - an embittered old man encamped in the ruins of a once great station homestead, Kuran House. It’s a baffling and sinister new world for the boy, a place of decay and secret histories. His uncle is obsessed by a long life of decline and by a dark quest for revival, his mother is desperate for a wealth and security she has never known, and all their hopes it seems come to rest upon William’s young shoulders. But as the past and present of Kuran Station unravel and merge together, the price of that inheritance may prove to be the downfall of them all. The White Earth is a haunting, disturbing and cautionary tale.

‘The novel is beautifully structured, filled with parallels and reverberations which come back to haunt and illuminate the reader as the story unfolds.’ - Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

‘A great Australian story embracing national themes that should engage us all.’ Lucy Clark, The Sunday Telegraph

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