Ghost River by Tony Birch

Reviewed by
December 2015, no. 377
Luke Horton reviews 'Ghost River' by Tony Birch

Ghost River

by Tony Birch

University of Queensland Press, $29.95 pb, 304 pp, 9780702253775

Ghost River by Tony Birch

Reviewed by
December 2015, no. 377

With Ghost River, Tony Birch returns to a world he has delineated over many short stories and in his first novel, the Miles Franklin-shortlisted Blood (2011): the world of adolescents living on the margins. Invariably in trouble and in unstable family environments, the adolescents in Birch's fiction tend to find in their marginal status a degree of freedom. They use this freedom to explore what he has described elsewhere as 'landscapes of abandonment'.

The landscape of abandonment in Ghost River is one particularly close to his heart: Melbourne's Yarra River as it was in the late 1960s, winding through the working-class suburbs of Collingwood and Fitzroy, poisoned and largely ignored, and being further debased by new construction projects such as the South Eastern Freeway. Way past its prime as a site of leisure, and as yet untroubled by the busy bicycle paths that line it today, the Yarra at this time was the realm of the homeless and the odd local boy like Birch, or in Ghost River, local boys like Ren and his new best friend, Sonny.

Luke Horton reviews 'Ghost River' by Tony Birch

Ghost River

by Tony Birch

University of Queensland Press, $29.95 pb, 304 pp, 9780702253775

You May Also Like

From the New Issue

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.