Review: Coal Creek by Alex Miller

Title: Coal Creek

Author: Alex Miller

Published: Allen & Unwin October 2013

Status: Read from October 24 to 26, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

“The way I saw it was that Daniel and Esme never thought too much about how it was going to be for them coming in to police a town like Mount Hay from the outside the way they did.” p13

Told in the first person, Coal Creek begins in the late 1940’s and is the story of twenty year old ‘Bobby Blue’, born and raised in the back country of the Queensland Highlands. In need of a way to make a living after the death of his father, Bobby gets a job with the the new police sergeant of Mount Hay, Daniel Collins. Daniel and his family are ‘coastal’ people who struggle to understand life amongst the ranges and Bobby Blue observes silently as the Collins’ ignorance leads them all inexorably into tragedy.

While it took me a little while to connect to the rhythm of Bobby Blue’s idiosyncratic ‘voice’, I was soon captivated by the story Bobby Blue had to tell. It is a tale that meanders through memories of his childhood, the land he loves and the community he was born into as he relates his fate and the way it intertwines with the Collins’.

Though the language is spare, Miller is able to evoke people, places and emotions with a deceptively simple turn of phrase. Reflecting Bobby Blue’s laconic nature, the pace of the novel is restrained. The tension builds from Bobby Blue’s hints of impending tragedy, foreshadowed by his friendship with wild bushman, Ben, and his growing infatuation with Daniel and Esme’s young daughter, Irie.

Coal Creek is a quiet but powerful novel of family, friendship and loyalty, tested by betrayal and tragedy. This is a book destined to be another awarded literary triumph for Alex Miller.

Available to Purchase From

Allen & Unwin I BoomerangBooks I Booktopia I Amazon Kindle

via Booko


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. writenote1
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 17:03:50

    I’ve been recommended Alex Miller’s books before so I think I’m going to have to get some!



  2. Brona
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 18:12:17

    This was my first Miller and I loved it…so much so I now have another couple sitting on my TBR pile !
    (There’s a review on my blog if you wanted to check it out some time)



  3. Lesdeemac
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 14:39:00

    My friend had just finished reading Coal Creek, and loved it. She is borrowing his other books from the library. It’s now on my list as well.



  4. Narelle
    Mar 03, 2014 @ 16:45:27

    What I love about Alex Miller’s writing is his great insight into human relationships between peoople of different backgrounds and the way they can sometimes result in the most unlikely friendships – as in ‘Landscape of Farewell’ and sometimes destroy lives – as in ‘Lovesong’ and this, his latest one. In ‘Coal Creek’ he has captured the authentic voice of his childhood in the Australian hinterland in Bobby Blue, as he narrates a story that’s based on a misunderstanding between people from different backgrounds. I thought this a marvellous book.



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