Books written on a typewriter

“Do you think you’ve been redeemed?”. Hazel Motes, a man with a troubled past, is compelled to start a new church. The Church Without Christ. To this end he travels to a small southern town to preach his own version of The Word. He becomes entangled with a range of con artists and outsiders, each with their own peculiar baggage. Hazel’s journey through this world is dark and comic. Its ending is one that will leave you dazed.

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John Grant, assigned to be the schoolmaster of a remote outback school, just wants to get back to Sydney. But on the way his journey meets tragedy when all of his money is lost in a game of two-up and he becomes dependent on local hospitality. What follows is a series of falls that reduce him to a base level of existence. A harrowing indictment of masculinity and drinking culture that, once read, is never forgotten.

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First published in 1966, this landmark work is widely considered to be the original non-fiction novel. Praised by critics and loved by millions, In Cold Blood remains as powerful now as when it first appeared. The second-best-selling true crime book in history, it stands as Truman Capote’s greatest achievement.

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Winner of the 1978 Miles Franklin Award and included in The Modern Library : The Best 200 Novels in English since 1950. Nora Porteous has come home to Brisbane in her twilight years. What follows is a series of remembrances that piece together a life of continued escapes in search of the self. Tirra Lirra by the River is simultaneously a work of brevity and great scope.

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An underrated classic. Arturo Bandini is a writer struggling to make ends meet in 1930s downtown Los Angeles. He goes in search of love, inspiration and experience, but what he gets is not what he bargained for. This raw and darkly comic novel captures the journey of this lively anti-hero and the dynamic city in which he lives.

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One of the earliest, most insightful and enduring voices of Australian literature. Henry Lawson’s short stories stand as a testament to his genius. They resonate as both a timely portal into the world in which they were created, and as a timeless investigation into the human soul.

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A unique and powerful novel. The plot, told through the points of view of 15 characters, revolves around the journey of a poor rural family to bury their matriarch. To honour her dying wish to be buried in her hometown, they undertake the long trek by wagon. The story shifts focus between the physical hardship of the journey and the motivations of each character. One of the great novels of the 20th century.

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A novel in two acts. The first act introduces us to the world of Tony Last, an English squire whose seemingly idyllic life starts to disintegrate piece by piece. When tragedy strikes, Tony is compelled to leave everything behind and start again. In the second act, we discover that his compulsion, and fate, have taken him somewhere far, far away. What transpires almost beggars belief in its strangeness…

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Josef K, a bank clerk, is arrested on the morning of his 30th birthday. The crime is not specified. His captors are not identified. His crime is not stated. His punishment is uncertain. A classic of paranoid fiction that continues to defy both interpretation and classification. It can be enjoyed as an absurdist tale, or it can offer the reader a puzzle where the solution remains tantalisingly just out of reach.

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Last year, Gerald Murnane’s lost 1976 masterpiece was finally released in its entirety. The original manuscript was halved, with the first half released as A Lifetime on Clouds. Sadly, the remaining half was never published. Adrian Sherd’s complete and hilariously intense search for meaning can now be enjoyed as intended by the author. Very highly recommended.

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