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Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton - Book Review

Boy Swallows Universe is an ode to 1980s suburban Australia and a coming of age story told through the eyes of a teenage boy.

Some are touting this book, published by Harper Collins Australia, as the best Australian fiction in years.

The story will at once be familiar to anyone who grew up in the 80s with references to such delights as mullet haircuts, stubbie shorts, Dunlop volleys, Malvern Star bicycles, Pasito soft drink and Atari video games.

It also has a dark underbelly, set against the backdrop of drugs, violence and crime.

Main character and narrator Eli Bell has drug-addict-turned-drug-dealer parents, a convicted murderer for a babysitter and comes into regular contact with a cast of druglords.

Author Trent Dalton explores the intersection between good and bad – at what point does a person decide to be bad instead of good?

After reading this book I was intrigued to learn it is semi-autobiographical, loosely based on the author’s own family relationships and parental influences but with an imagined plot.

You might like this book if you enjoyed Puberty Blues, Jasper Jones, anything by Tim Winton and the recent slew of 80s Australian biopics such as Hoges.

Happy reading! 


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