The Tall Man

The Tall Man : Death and Life on Palm Island

4.15 (1,950 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$23.65

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


Palm Island may be the most beautiful tropical island in Australia, but its name is synonymous with violence. It is home to one of the country's largest Aboriginal communities, descendants of people torn from their own lands, their clans and their families in the era of the Stolen Generation. In 2004 Cameron Doomadgee, a 36-year-old resident of the island, was arrested for swearing at a white police officer and locked in the cells. Within forty-five minutes he was dead. The police claimed he'd tripped on a step, but the Government pathologist later said that his injuries were consistent with a car or plane crash. The community rioted and burnt down the police station. The main suspect was Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurley, a tall, handsome, charismatic cop with long experience in Aboriginal communities and decorations for his work.Chloe Hooper's "The Tall Man: Life and Death on Palm Island" recounts this story with the pace of a thriller. Following Hurley's trail to some of the wildest and most remote parts of Australia, she explores Aboriginal myths and history and uncovers buried secrets of white mischief.
Atmospheric, gritty and original, "The Tall Man" is an absorbing and moving account of the lives of people of Palm Island, of the Doomadgee family as they struggle to understand what happened to their brother, and of the complex, enigmatic figure, Hurley. Hooper combines reportage with a novelist's command of character to tell a story that takes readers not only inside the courtroom and the notorious Queensland police force, but into Australia's indigenous communities - and to the heart of a struggle for power, revenge and justice.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 143 x 204 x 25mm | 405g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations 1 map,
  • 0224084666
  • 9780224084666
  • 994,591

About Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper was born in 1973. Her highly praised first novel, A Child's Book of True Crime (2002), was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her Observer article about the Doomadgee case, 'Island of Lost Souls', was shortlisted for the Amnesty International Media Awards.
show more

Review quote

"Every sentence is weighed, considered, even, restrained. Every character is explored for their contradictions, every situation observed for its nuances, every easy judgment suspended. Hooper has a feeling for the intimacy of violence, the fragility of the flesh, the tawdry inevitability of corruption, the fathomless depth of loss." "-- THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD"
show more

Review Text

"This book is everything it should be: a sad, beautiful, frightening account of one man's pointless death, interwoven with the brutal history of Palm Island and a golden thread of Aboriginal mythology. Every sentence is weighty, considered, even, restrained. Every character is explored for their contradictions, every situation observed for its nuances, every easy judgement suspended... It is The Tall Man's triumph that Hooper finds the common humanity in the accused and the accuser, the police officer and the street drinker, the living and the dead."
show more

Rating details

1,950 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 41% (804)
4 39% (768)
3 15% (283)
2 4% (69)
1 1% (26)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X