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Janette Turner Hospital

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ISBN 10: 1860491634 / ISBN 13: 9781860491634
Published by Virago Press Ltd
Used Condition: VERY GOOD Soft cover
From OwlsBooks (Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Light rubbing wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins not affecting the text. Possible clean ex-library copy, with their stickers and or stamp(s). Bookseller Inventory # 2590096655

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Oyster

Publisher: Virago Press Ltd

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:VERY GOOD

About this title


By cunning intention, and sometimes by discreet bribery, Outer Maroo has managed to keep itself off the map. And yet people do stumble into town, because the seduction of nowhere is hard to resist. Opal draws most of them. The word itself is like a charm. You can stroke a word like opal. You can taste it. You can swallow it whole, raw and silky, like an oyster. And then Oyster can reel you in. Two strangers reach an opal-mining town in Queensland's outback, searching for a stepdaughter and a son, who have mysteriously disappeared. There is a heavy, guilty feel to the hot, parched-dry town where the drinkers standing on the verandah of Bernie's Last Chance wait to take stock of the foreigners before returning to the sheep stations or to the stake-outs in opal fields. This is Outer Maroo. Population 87. Here two opposing cultures - the rough-diamond, boozing, bush folk and the teetotaller, church-going fundamentalists - used to co-exist peacably. Until the arrival of the cult messiah Oyster.


You won't find Outer Maroo on any map, and the people who live there intend to keep it that way. In Janette Turner Hospital's extraordinary new novel Oyster, this bleak, drought-stricken town in the Australian outback is home to a scant handful of religious fundamentalists and rowdy, gun-toting opal miners. United by their dislike for taxmen, the government, and "foreigners," the inhabitants have managed to keep their town's underground riches a secret from the world--until the day when a bloody, raving, but "quite strikingly beautiful" man staggers in from the desert and changes everything: "Then Oyster came, and quite soon after, jeeps began to announce themselves in small red clouds. There were campers and squatters, and they kept arriving as the zeros on the calendar got closer; or at any rate that was the connection that Oyster himself made, and the newcomers shared his belief, and so disposed themselves for a certain kind of future, now upon us."

In the weeks to come, the charismatic Oyster draws young drifters to his commune outside town, Oyster's Reef, where they become little more than slave labor in the Reef's opal fields. Seduced by his apocalyptic rhetoric or corrupted by his money, the town enters into a strange complicity with the mysterious guru, and anyone who dares to question the arrangement--including a local schoolteacher--conveniently disappears. Eventually, town and cult alike perish in a bloody firestorm that recalls events in Waco, Texas. Throughout, Turner Hospital expertly evokes the desert's shifting dreamscape, a land of pitiless light and heat where the atmosphere itself conspires to create illusion; narrated by a shifting cast of characters, moving back and forth in time, this eerie, hypnotic book often seems much the same way.

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