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Our Sunshine

by Robert Drewe

This reads like the real testament of Ned Kelly - Australia's Robin Hood - but here you get less of the myth and more of the man.

The story conveys passion and weariness at the same time. It's gritty, and sounds like it's written on the run. I've never been to Australia, but thanks to this book I think I know what it's like. The landscapes and the weather are so real and Ned and his world come across as completely genuine.

I would recommend this book for a train journey - it'll make it fly past.

Extract

So, Mr. Bracken, if you want outlaws, you couldn't organise it better. Locking up a mother of ten on perjured evidence is guaranteed to work. Molesting their sisters, raiding homes, frightening children. Your man Fitzpatrick managed all of this. And topped it off by whining that I shot him (in the hand! And made him faint!). I wasn't even home. Let me state the bloody obvious. A charge of attempting to murder a policeman has them after you then and forever.

If I had been there I wouldn't have shot him in the hand!

Parallels

Long John Silver by Bjorn Larsson
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje
 

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