Montebello: A Memoir
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Montebello: A Memoir

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'Listen to me,' my mother says. 'They've let off an atom bomb today. Right here in W.A. Atom bombs worry the blazes out of me, and I want you at home.' In the sleepy and conservative 1950s the British began a series of nuclear tests in the Montebello archipelago off the west coast of Australia. Even today, few people know about the three huge atom bombs that were detonated there, but they lodged in the consciousness of the young Robert Drewe and would linger with him for years to come. In this moving sequel to The Shark Net, and with his characteristic frankness, humour and cinematic imagery, Drewe travels to the Montebellos to visit the territory that has held his imagination since childhood. He soon finds himself overtaken by memories and reflections on his own 'islomania'. In the aftermath of both man-made and natural events that have left a permanent mark on the Australian landscape and psyche - from nuclear tests and the mining boom to shark attacks along the coast - Drewe examines how comfortable and familiar terrain can quickly become a site of danger, and how regeneration and love can emerge from chaos and loss. ' Montebello has this wonderfully novelistic flow that draws you back to another time. William Yeoman, West Australian 'Superb writing and skilful interweaving of the different strands in this book make it a pleasure to read.' Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers 'Creating ...... a complex picture out of discrete though related narrative chunks ...... Montebello is a fragmentary book but a perfectly integrated work of art. Drewe's literary instincts are as impeccable as his ear for the English language is unfaltering, and his latest memoir has all the more force for being set down with such a delicate hand.' Richard King, Weekend Australian 'This is a splendid memoir with many moods - delicate, tough, ironic, compassionate - that are beautifully controlled and paced.' Brian Matthews, ABR
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 19mm | 215g
  • Penguin Books Australia
  • Hawthorn, Australia
  • 014356904X
  • 9780143569046
  • 174,802

About Robert Drewe

Robert Drewe was born in Melbourne on January 9, 1943, but from the age of six, when his father moved the family west to a better job in Perth, he grew up and was educated on the West Australian coast. The Swan River and Indian Ocean coast, where he learned to swim and surf, made an immediate and lasting impression on him. At Hale School he was captain of the school swimming team and editor of the school magazine, the 'Cygnet'. Swimming and publishing have remained interests all his life On his 18th birthday, already wishing to be a writer but unsure 'who was in charge of Writing', he joined 'The West Australian' as a cadet reporter. Three years later he was recruited by 'The Age' in Melbourne, and was made chief of that newspaper's Sydney bureau a year later, at 22. Sydney became home for him and his growing family, mostly in a small sandstone terrace in Euroka Street, North Sydney, where Henry Lawson had once lived. Robert Drewe became, variously, a well-known columnist, features editor, literary editor and special writer on 'The Australian' and the 'Bulletin'. During this time he travelled widely throughout Asia and North America, won two Walkley Awards for journalism and was awarded a Leader Grant travel scholarship by the United States Government. While still in his twenties, he turned from journalism to writing fiction. Beginning with 'The Sava
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