The Buzz

The Buzz about The Torch

The hero of Peter Twohig’s The Cartographer makes a triumphant return in The Torch.

It is a wonderful picture of the early 1960’s, and is especially nostalgic for anyone who grew up in this period. 

Read review by Leonie at Books in Print.

Michael: What is a book that we should be reading that we might not know about?

Deb: I think everyone should be reading The Torch, by Peter Twohig. Fantastic book, sequel to his first book, The Cartographer

It’s this crazy Boys Own adventure, but really so funny, with so much heart. 

Michael: I couldn’t agree more: he’s a wonderful writer. I loved The Cartographer when it came out. Does this second book rely on having read the first?

Deb: You can completely read it alone. It’s a contained story, and it’s just as funny [as The Cartographer]. 

Michael: Charming, youthful, and a very Australian voice.

Deb: So Australian: ‘wouldn’t be dead for quids’ kind of thing. 

Deb Force, Sun Books, Yarraville, interviewd by Michael Williams (ABC Radio Blueprint Reviews) . Hear full interview at Radio National.

The Torch is animated throughout by the energy of its dialogue, by turns insinuating, dryly witty and raucous, and the verve of the narrator’s thoughts. 

The language has a sustained, colloquial ease that is one of Twohig’s most signal achievements.

The Buzz about The Cartographer

There are some superb laugh out loud bits in this book which relieve the tension. And tense it is; beautifully crafted cliffhangers keep you turning the page when you really meant to stop five chapters ago.

There is also authenticity, in the trams, the tv shows, the movies, the sweets and lollies, the very life of late 50s Australia. There’s a larrikin sense of freedom in this book and in its young hero. The kid’s family – his mother, estranged father, grandfather – are people you’ll know if you’re an Aussie of a certain age. Everyone has met people like them in their youth.

There is also harshness typical of the kid’s generation; in the murders, in the matter of fact way the kid talks about the deaths he has seen and the death of his first dog, the breakup of his parent’s marriage.

And there’s darkness; physical darkness in the drains but I think echoed in the kid’s head as he copes with murders, crooked cops, and being truly himself.

In the end, after rollicking chase after rollicking chase, after little snippets of information fed delicately to make a complete picture, I adored this book and the ‘voice’ of its hero. 

Read review at Fiction by Caroline Scully

I'm just over half way through The Cartographer by Peter Twohig. What a great book! A wonderfully quirky tale of a young boy in Melbourne in the 1950's. He witnesses a murder and narrowly escapes becoming a victim himself. His misadventures are beautifully told through a child's eyes and will have you chuckling away at his perceptions and misperceptions, so earnestly protrayed. Definitely add this one to your reading pile! Steph:)

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