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Paul is a dreamer, his head is alive with rippling pianos, gentle violins and the smiles of Margaret, the one he loves.
But in the cold light of day, Margaret snubs him at school, the piano has been sold, his father is battling to keep the farm, and dejected men are tramping the roads ... looking for work, a sandwich, a cup of tea... No-one has time for music or dreams. Then Eric the Red comes along with his silver flute, his knowing wink and boots held together with wire. Eric the Red who knows how to make a flute from a piece of bamboo...
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Garry Disher (born 15 August 1949) grew up in rural South Australia. His novels often draw on memories of life in dry wheat and wool country, where his family has farmed for generations. 'I've always written, and long wanted to write about the mid-north', says the author. Disher has an Arts degree from The University of Adelaide, a Diploma of Education from La Trobe University, and an MA in history from Monash University. His first story was published in Overland magazine in 1976, and many others have followed. On the strength of these he was awarded a creative writing fellowship at Stanford University, California, where he wrote his first short-story collection. A widely traveled author, he spent several years in England, Israel, southern Africa, then later the USA, and in 1987 in Tuscany, Italy. Some of these places have inspired Disher's writing, but the mid-north of South Australia is the space he has always wanted to reconstruct in his fiction. This region provides the setting for The Sunken Road, the Wyatt thriller Paydirt, the children's novels The Bamboo Flute, Walk Twenty, Run Twenty, Blame the Wind, and The Apostle Bird, and the short stories "Manhunt", "Old Ground", "Artifacts" and "Dead Eye". When he returned to Australia, he taught creative writing to supplement his writer's income. He wrote across many genres - 'literary' and children's fiction, writers' books, history textbooks, thrillers. In 1989 he turned to full-time writing, and he also stopped producing non-fiction books. Disher has published more than 30 books, from the lyrical and heartwarming The Bamboo Flute, to the hard boiled Wyatt thrillers, or the acclaimed South Australian novel, The Sunken Road. He has put together anthologies, and contributed to periodicals in Australia and abroad. His mastery of the craft has brought him professional satisfaction in each genre chosen as a means of literary expression - The Bamboo Flute won the Children's Book of the Year Award in 1993, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Award, represented Australia at the IBBY Conference in Spain, and was voted one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly in the USA; two of his short story collections have been shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award; the Wyatt novels have convinced the reading public and such authoritative voices in the field as Peter Corris, Stephen Knight, Marele Day and Stuart Coupe, many critics considering Disher the best Australian thriller writer at present. A full-time writer for nine years now, Garry Disher lives with his partner and daughter near the coast on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.From Kirkus Reviews:
In his first US publication, an Australian author draws on his family history for a beautifully written novella set in 1932. Drought is making hard times harder: Paul's parents have had to sell his mother's beloved piano; Dad's ``warbling whistle, the one that coils and dips like water over stones,'' is rarely heard; and homeless ``swaggies,'' perceived (with reason) as a threat, demand food on their way to check out the goldfields. At 12, Paul is an indifferent student, lost in dreams of music, for which he has a gift he's never had a chance to use. When he finds ``Eric the Red'' roasting a sheep near their farmhouse, he knows he should tell his dad of the theft; instead, he's drawn into wary friendship by the sweet tones of the swagman's flute. Eric shows Paul how to make himself a flute of bamboo; it gives him, for the first time, an opportunity to express himself musically. Like other swagmen, Eric moves on; but Paul's flute is the key to his awakening, as well as to new connections with parents, teacher, and classmates. Like Cynthia Rylant or Ivan Southall, Disher writes in spare, lyrical prose, capturing a mood or the nuances of his character's perceptions with wonderful subtlety. The somber legacy of WW I adds depth to the theme: Eric, the teacher, and Paul's embittered father are all veterans, each scarred in his own way; for each, Paul's new music offers a touch of hope. Brief and easily read, a powerfully realized moment in Australia's past. (Fiction. 9-14) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Angus & Robertson, 1992. Paperback. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0207173478