The unnamed, eleven-year-old narrator protagonist of The Cartographer has an epileptic fit after witnessing a horrific rape-murder. The year is 1959. His father has just left the family days after his identical twin brother was killed by faulty playground equipment. The child’s closest friend is his wheeler-dealer grandfather, but it is in his own head that he thrives. To act out his grief he inhabits a series of superheroes, chief among them the Cartographer, creator of an intricate, pictorial, ever-growing map of Richmond and Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, above and below ground. Cartography (he learns the word from an old army manual) is his way of avoiding trouble. Unfortunately, trouble follows him wherever he goes.
Lucas Smith reviews 'The Cartographer' by Peter Twohig
by Peter Twohig
Fourth Estate, $29.99 pb, 392 pp, 9780732292161
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Lucas Smith is a PhD candidate in History at the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University. In 2010 he co-edited Farrago. His work has appeared in New Matilda, Eureka Street, The Lifted Brow,and the John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers.
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