Sydney, 1942: the year of the fall of Singapore, the bombing of Darwin and the surprise attack on Sydney Harbour by Japanese midget submarines. Through the eyes of a naive young priest we see into the hearts of a people who fear the end of life as they know it. Shortlist Miles Franklin Award 2003.
Sydney, 1942 - the year of the fall of Singapore, the bombing of Darwin and the surprise attack on Sydney harbour by Japanese midget submarines. Australia is surely doomed to fall to the Japanese... Through the eyes of a naive young priest we see into the hearts of a people who fear the end of life as they know it. In the confessional, Father Frank Darragh hears how his community is changing - how the very real fear of invasion by the Japanese is leading people to challenge what the church teaches it right or wrong. Under the threat of death, people do things they would never dream of in peacetime. Especially vulnerable are those women whose husbands have been captured in Singapore or in the Western desert. Facing the future alone and unprotected, they are at risk of succumbing to the charms of more subtle invaders, American servicemen. When one of Father Darragh's 'fallen' parishioners, the young working class wife of an Australian POW, is found brutally murdeed, she takes on the character of a victim of war in the mind of the impressionable young priest. His obsession with her lost soul runs deeper than he will admit and leads Darragh on a dangerous journey of personal discovery - one that puts his own life at risk...
THOMAS KENEALLY won the Booker Prize in 1982 with SCHINDLER'S ARK, later made into the Academy Award-winning film SCHINDLER'S LIST by Steven Spielberg. He has written ten works of non-fiction, including his recent memoir SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER, and the histories THE COMMONWEALTH OF THIEVES, THE GREAT SHAME and AMERICAN SCOUNDREL, and 27 works of fiction, including THE WIDOW AND HER HERO, AN ANGEL IN AUSTRALIA and BETTANY'S BOOK. His novels THE CHANT OF JIMMY BLACKSMITH, GOSSIP FROM THE FOREST, and CONFEDERATES were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while BRING LARKS AND HEROES and THREE CHEERS FOR THE PARACLETE won the Miles Franklin Award.
Short-listed for Miles Franklin Literary Award 2003
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