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:)

Black Cat Paddington


The Cartographer' is unique, stylish and very Australian. If you love social history, stories about 'coming of age' and the Australian vernacular of the day (and the eccentric characters throughout) you will love Twohig's debut novel.

At times, hilarious , sometimes dark, the novel is exceedingly fresh and poignant.

Superb.

Clare Calvert's Book of the Week, ABC Nightlife


Like Huck Finn, no sooner does the boy get out of one pickle than he finds

himself in another. How he confronts each challenge makes for consistently

entertaining reading. 

Author Twohig plunders his childhood memories of Melbourne for The Cartographer. The look and feel of the inner-city he describes bears intimacy and authenticity.

But best of all is Twohig's memory of what it is to be 11, that age when everything is so big, when so much is about to change and you have so little control that sometimes the only way for a boy to cope is to grow large within the imagination.

 The joy for the reader is to get in there with him. 

The Cartographer is a wonderfully  assured debut novel, full of life, love,

laughter and lessons.

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin


Yesterday I picked up a copy of a first novel by an author my age. He's Australian Peter Twohig and The Cartographer has just been published in 2012. It is proving an engrossing, amusing, poignant read. Anyone from inner city Melbourne reading this novel would get a special thrill as the geographical and sociological references are beautifully evoked.

I'll blog more about it, but basically it's about a young eleven year old boy growing up in the fifties in inner city Melbourne. He witnesses more deaths than a kid has a right to expect and his passion for creative forays into the jungles of suburban Melbourne is fueled by fear and hope.

I was so inspired that I thought I'd create yet another blog where I only reviewed the first novel of various authors, mainly Australian. Then I thought of all that work and energy that I'd rather be pouring into my own creative output so I decided to create a new category for just that purpose - I'm calling it 'First Write'.

Magpies Nest


The Cartographer is a genuinely dark tale at times. Richmond was a dangerous and depressed part of town when Twohig grew up there in the 1950s and '60s, so placing his child protagonist in the thick of it sometimes reads like a cathartic nightmare. Yet this book oozes gentle humour, particularly through colourful, vintage turns of phrase and the boy's observations of the adult world, which are either amusingly naive or hilariously on the money. It can also be a disarmingly poignant story.

The Cartographer is a remarkable first novel whose vivid descriptions, original, engaging voice and surprising hero-in-the-rough draws the reader into a labyrinth of danger and discovery

Sydney Morning Herald

Read more


The Cartographer will draw comparisons with others that have so beautifully captured the voice of a child including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and The Book Thief. Rather than being a pale imitation though, it is in a class of its own- smart, incredibly funny, charming and uniquely Australian. My hope is that such a strong debut marks the beginning of another fantastic year for Australian fiction.

Swimming in the Nile                                                                                                       

 

Set in Richmond, Melbourne in 1959, The Cartographer is about an 11 year old boy who is wandering the streets occasionally seeing things he shouldn’t.  Having seen a murder take place his imagination runs riot with possibilities of being caught by some dodgy characters he may have upset.  Along the way he is making a map of where he has been, so he knows where he shouldn’t go return  so staying  out of trouble. Aided by his grandad, who has some dodgy friends of his own, all of Richmond is his back yard.  A back story of the death of his twin, and the unhappy marriage  of his parents add to the boy’s troubles.  Set firmly in the time, with the colourful Aussie language of working class Richmond, The Cartographer is funny but tells a serious story.  It is part mystery, part coming of age and part social history.  I enjoyed it immensely.   

Fairfieldbooks On Station


YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

I’m not sure what else to say. I was sent an advance copy, absently picked it up one afternoon and fell in love with it almost instantly, gladly snubbing the international critical darlings for this brilliant home grown debut. Narrated by a young boy mapping the mean streets of 1950s Melbourne, it’s comparable to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time for its engaging hero, earnest humour and an underlying sense of tragedy. His adventures are improbably outrageous and interlinked yet I happily abandoned my starchy, grown up need for realism and enjoyed the ride.

The Nile


A young boy witnesses a murder and to escape meeting that person he draws a map of his area in Melbourne, below and above ground. He is only eleven so the maps involve superheros and comics. and become very intricate. He thinks this will prevent their paths crossing as he is already good at avoding big issues. I know this is a big call but it reminded me of Jonathan Safer Foer, Mike Haddon and Marcus Zusak. Quite brilliant! 

Pages & Pages


Strap yourself in for a ripper ride on and under the streets of Richmond, Melbourne. It's 1959 and an 11-year-old boy is struggling to come to terms with the death of his twin brother. His father has left and his mother is overwrought, but his ex-boxing, streetwise grandad is teaching him how to survive. It's a time when a boy can wander into neighbours' houses and expect a lemonade and biscuit, except our narrator prefers to explore houses uninvited. He witnesses a murder, a young pyromaniac being punished by his blind mother, and a husband beating a man after he messes with his wife. 


Money plates, a sawn-off shotgun, a hand grenade and other people's photos become part of his bedroom booty, which brings him to the attention of crims and rozzers. But his fearless exploration of underground pipes and tunnels means he has plenty of escape routes, and as the superhero, The Cartographer, he documents all his adventures on a giant map. Not since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has there been such a compelling child narrator. It's an Aussie odyssey in the spirit of Huckleberry Finn and Oliver Twist.

Verdict: Put it on the literary map

Melbourne Herald Sun


Why you should read it: This is a humorous, warm-hearted page-turner with excellent characters. It manages to perfectly resurrect an almost lost Australian vernacular. It’s a beaut!

This book is perfect for: Anyone with a penchant for nostalgia, or that particular type of novel that uncovers the corruption of the adult world by showing it through innocent eyes, such as Jasper Jones or To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sun Bookshop


Boomerang Books say "The Cartographer has a ‘lovely strangeness’ to it. The writing and the story are delightfully eccentric, filled with dry wit and super funny characters and events. 

The cocky and devilish yet innocent and beautiful voice of the unnamed narrator belies all the loss and trauma he has recently experienced. To survive, he reinvents himself as a superhero and maps his journeys through the landmarks and smells of Richmond to be sure he never crosses paths with the people he has upset, including a vengeful murderer. The story is full of cultural references to comics, superheroes and TV shows that will strike chord after chord with readers." I really couldn't explain it better.  This book is quirky, funny, sad and a great read.  There are lines that I just couldn't help but read out loud to whoever happened to be around. This book will be out at the beginning of February, give it a go. 

Love That Book


The Cartographer is a genuinely dark tale at times. Richmond was a dangerous and depressed part of town when Twohig grew up there in the 1950s and '60s, so placing his child protagonist in the thick of it sometimes reads like a cathartic nightmare. Yet this book oozes gentle humour, particularly through colourful, vintage turns of phrase and the boy's observations of the adult world, which are either amusingly naive or hilariously on the money. It can also be a disarmingly poignant story.

The Cartographer is a remarkable first novel whose vivid descriptions, original, engaging voice and surprising hero-in-the-rough draws the reader into a labyrinth of danger and discovery.

Patricia Maunder, The Sydney Morning Herald


Each month an industry insider tells us about books they're looking forward to seeing in the bookshops. This month Book Council staff share their soon-to-be-released book picks.

Sarah Forster: I'm looking forward to reading The Cartographer(HarperCollins), a new novel by Peter Twohig. It's recommended to anyone who enjoys the stories of Jonathan Safran Foer, Mark Haddon and Markus Zusak, which is a great reason to be excited, in addition to the funky cover design.

New Zealand Book Council


Our hero is an amusing and likeable character, his speech littered with racetrack phrasing and noir references. He is supported buy an eclectic and intriguing case of characters, no more so than his wheeling, dealing grandfather….If, like me, you enjoyed Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, you are going to want to read this book, as I suspect a lot of people will.'

Paul Landymore, Bookseller+Publisher Magazine


A bold, captivating and outrageously funny novel about a boy who refuses to give in and the numerous shifty, dodgy and downright malicious bastards he has to contend with on his grand adventure of loss and discovery, The Cartographer is an astounding, fresh and unforgettably poignant novel you′d be a mug to miss!

HarperCollinsPublishers


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