Steve Gome

Set during the Depression, Peter Yeldham’s eighth novel follows the adventures of Belle Carson and her son Teddy. Despite having enjoyed considerable renown throughout Sydney’s bohemian enclaves, Belle’s ambitions as an actress were never fully realised. Determined that the same fate should not befall her son, she turns her back on her husband and their steady life in Gundagai to introduce Teddy to the glittering city.

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Shadowboxing is a collection of discrete short stories charting the arduous journey of the narrator, Michael Byrne, from childhood to fatherhood. Living in the inner-Melbourne suburbs of Carlton, Richmond, and Fitzroy in the 1960s was for many a tough proposition – and the Byrne family is no exception. Their household is headed by an embittered alcoholic whose violent tendencies are a source of constant dread. Money is always tight, and the family’s grip on any sort of security or comfort is invariably tenuous. Yet when the stories have been told, what we are left with is not a litany of woe but rather powerful examples of resilience and resourcefulness provided by the inhabitants of these impoverished communities.

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