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- Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
- Format: Paperback | 328 pages
- Dimensions: 154mm x 232mm x 26mm | 260g
- Publication date: 28 October 2014
- Publication City/Country: Melbourne
- ISBN 10: 192214732X
- ISBN 13: 9781922147325
- Edition statement: New.
- Sales rank: 530,602
Living on the outskirts of society, Shane, Moira, Midge, and young Zara and Rory are searching for shelter. When they find an abandoned bush shack, things start looking up. But fifteen year old Zara has a newborn baby that she's desperate to ignore and before long Shane is in trouble with the police. A moving and lyrical meditation on the meaning of family, for fans of John Steinbeck.Craig Sherborne has written two memoirs, "Hoi Polloi" (2005) and "Muck" (2007), and the novel "The Amateur Science of Love" (2011). He has won several Australian literary awards.
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Craig Sherborne's memoir "Hoi Polloi" (2005) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. The follow-up, "Muck" (2007), won the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Non-fiction. Craig's first novel, "The Amateur Science of Love" (2011), won the Melbourne Prize for Literature's Best Writing Award, and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier's Literary Award and a NSW Premier's Literary Award. His writing has appeared in most of Australia's literary journals and anthologies.
By Marianne Vincent 25 Mar 2014
Tree Palace is the second novel by Australian author, playwright and poet, Craig Sherborne. Moira, Shane, Midge, Zara and Rory are trants (itinerants). After many years of moving around, they have stopped at Barleyville, on the plains west of Melbourne, squatting in a derelict old cottage they call their Tree Palace, annexed by their caravan and a tent. Half-brothers Shane and Midge are accomplished at salvaging sought-after heritage-quality fittings from old homesteads. They are also experts at getting social security benefits whilst staying under the radar. They may be trants, and there may be no water or power laid on at their palace, but Moira still insists on certain standards in raising her children, Zara and Rory. And now there's Mathew, fifteen-year-old Zara's baby. But Moira finds that Zara is less than enamoured with the idea of motherhood, Rory is getting into mischief, the Police don't like her driving without a licence and Shane's business is running into problems. Sherborne gives the reader a revealing look at the world of itinerants and squatters, their principles and morals, their values, virtues and vices, their loves and loyalties. Readers may well gasp at the lack of guilt or conscience that his characters display when taking something they feel they need, be it a necklace from Salvos, a lead-light window from a homestead or a place to settle down. Nonetheless, his characters are familiar, see in any town, and their dialogue is natural and credible. Sherborne treats the reader to some wonderfully descriptive prose: "The best thing was the house. When they first saw it it no longer looked liveable because the grass sprouted in the roof and pushed up through the floor. That could be dealt with. It was old with a wrinkled feel the way the weatherboards had peeled and twisted. From the front it looked like a face with its open door hanging wide from the hinges and either side a window for eyes. Tattered blinds fluttered like eyelids and when birds flew out of the broken glass the window could have been blinking" is just one example. An eye-opening read.
'Sherborne presents moments of great emotion and bravely explores a world that most of us would be comfortable leaving alone.' "Kirkus Reviews" 'Much of the novel's action and characterisation unfolds through its authentic dialogue, and Sherborne's skills as a poet and playwright shine through. Readers will also enjoy his vivid depictions of nature--another strong feature of the novel is its rural setting. Told with warmth and humour, this contemporary, distinctly Australian story explores teen pregnancy; motherhood and parenthood; love and family; the roles and feelings of men and boys; and the power plays inherent in all human relationships. Tree Palace serves up a full slice of life--the bitter with the sweet.' 4 stars "Bookseller & Publisher" 'With the crystallisation and compression of poetry, Sherborne explores ideas of property, freedom and loyalty, and produces a novel as beautiful in its conjunctions as the chandelier swinging over its landscapes.' "Australian" '[Tree Palace is] moving, terrifying and wonderfully well observed and, as with all the strange books Sherborne writes, a triumph...The main character [is] one of the great portraits of up-against-it Australian womanhood in our literature, a figure to put with Lawson's Drover's Wife and Barbara Baynton's women.' Peter Craven, "Sydney Morning Herald" 'Sherborne's descriptions of landscape are poetic and powerful, reinforcing a sense of identity that is deeply connected to a sense of place.' "Readings" 'Sherborne had me at chapter one. Yes this comes down to the writing, which is, quite simply, sublime, but it goes further than that. There's such feeling; such heart that it's impossible not to fall for Moira, Shane & co. Tree Palace is a reminder that even inside the smallest of stories there's room enough for the stirring of universal themes...This is timeless, universal storytelling that is nonetheless quintessentially Australian.' "Eureka Street" '[Tree Palace has] insight, empathy and supple, observant prose.' "Advertiser" 'A delightful take on what it means to be family.' "Hoopla" 'Sherborne has woven an ultimately heart-warming tale. He tells it in simple language with great touches of humour and humanity, and has a fine way of describing his settings too. He draws his sultry rural locality well--its many sudden climate changes are almost characters themselves. It's not hard to see why he's capable of winning awards for his work. This is good story-telling and well worth reading.' "Waikato Times" 'Sherborne writes movingly and with poetic grace. Characters come across as an extension of the landscape: a landscape that will outlive the characters as they move through fleetingly. It is a relief to read this novel from a distance. While it is fascinating in a voyeuristic, readerly way to follow the plot twists that is about as close as we are willing to go. This is a great novel and Sherborne is a novelist to look out for.' "Otago Daily Times"