The Torch Book ó 480 pages Ë Hannahredhead

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The Torch Book ó 480 pages Ë Hannahredhead ✓ Melbourne 1960 Mrs Blayney and her twelve year old son live in South Richmond At least they did until their house burnt down The prime suspect one Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh also aged 12 has mysteriously disappeared Our narrator the Blayney kid sets off on a covert mission toMelbourne 1960 Mrs Blayney and her twelve year old son live in South Richmond At least they did until their house burnt down The prime suspect one Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh also aged 12 has mysteriously disappeared Our narrator the Blayney kid sets off on a covert mission to find young Keith who he privately dubs 'Flame Boy' to save him from the small army of irate locals not to mention his Given the author is apparently a civil servant it is all the remarkable that in presenting the voice of a street wise 13 year old he is remarkably successful Putting aside the unlikely plot line and an environment remniscent of gangland London the book has an authenticity about itas well as a lot of clever humourous observation through the eyes of the protagonist It was hard to really believe his level of maturity the uick one liners and the second life that he appeared to lead in Melbourne 50 years ago but somehow it begins not to matter a concern I had to break reading this to return a copy to my local library so retrieved the book two days ago with a mind refreshed by other reading I had to guess where I had reachedstill about 13 left as I write and the fact this was fairly easy says something about the easy style of the book I don't think I have learnt very much about Richmond nor much about Blaney and there have been few descriptions of that particular urban landscape but I was intrigued enough to turn pages but ultimately felt I did let down The book was overlong and in dire need of an editBecause it lacked dramatic tension replacing this with an implicit suggestion the story would continue in another book I ceased to care I would neither read by this author nor recommend him to others particularly

Peter Twohig ¹ The Torch Kindle

Mother who want to see him put awayFlame Boy has not only made himself scarce but he's done so with a very important briefcase of secrets which the kid is keen to get hold of for his grandfather a shady character who has some secrets of his own But the kid has got a lot going on he's also organising a new gang of kids; coping with the ups and downs of having a girl friend who likes to kiss a lot; The Torch is Twohig’s seuel to the The Cartographer and sees us back with the Blayney kid rampaging around early 1960s RichmondBlayney we never learn his first name is 12 and obsessed with spying exploration and being a super hero At the start of the book his house has been burned to the ground by a local arsonist whom he dubs Flame Boy and considers his nemesis He pursues Flame Boy through the houses alleys drains and tunnels of RichmondTwohig’s rollicking plot turns on the maguffin of a briefcase that Flame Boy has in his possession which an awful lot of people want to get their hands on Aware of the kid’s propensity for getting about and finding stuff various parties put pressure on him to find it He scrambles around Richmond forming secret societies hobnobbing with spies girls and other super heroes starting high school and meeting a very interesting new friend RafiWhile the tone of the book is pacy and funny there is a serious undercurrent to all this; Blaney’s twin Tom died in his presence and he was unable to save him From that time on he developed epilepsy and his parents’ marriage has fallen apart There is a suggestion that a lot of his fantasy life is escapism to help him deal with this and get away from a world that gets him down at times His immersion in Richmond's criminal element and his growing awareness of the complexity of the adult matters going on around him including grief adultery alcoholism and the war also add to the book’s serious sideThe narrative voice that Twohig has created from this mix is uniue and utterly Australian The kid uses lots of humorous slang and the writing is full of cheeky wit As someone who grew up in inner Melbourne in the 60s this book struck a lot of chords and brought back a lot of memories I’m pretty sure some of the jokes will go over the heads of readers not familiar with Australia at that time but that doesn’t mar the book much For those of us familiar with Richmond and its surrounds Twohig works in a lot of discreet references to various familiar buildings and events which adds to the funTwohig has created a cast of memorable supporting characters notably Granddad who is what the papers of the time would have referred to as a “colourful local identity” A highly improbably plot is played for all it is worth and there is a lot of laughs and a bit of sadness as well Twohig has come up with a winner again There are hints in this book that a third may be on the cards which I will greatly look forward to

Doc â ¹ Peter Twohig

The TorchTrying to avoid Keith's dangerous prison escapee father Fergus Kavanagh also an arsonist who is suspected of selling secrets to the Russians; and all the while wondering how he can get his hands on the most beautiful object in the world the Melbourne Olympic TorchA madcap brilliantly shambolic and irresistibly fun novel about loss discovery and living life to the full The Torch is a ripper of a ri Absolutely top follow up to The Cartographer The young Blayney is back and once again up to his neck in matters he only thinks he understands this time a mate who's a firebug the mate's dad who may or may not also be a firebug a mysterious suitcase that everyone seems to want and the compelling adventure that is kissing a girl Great fun and wonderfully captures its era Richmond in 1960 when it was still an out of working class slum