Boy Swallows Universe ePUB é Boy Swallows PDF/EPUB

  • Hardcover
  • 453 pages
  • Boy Swallows Universe
  • Trent Dalton
  • English
  • 01 September 2015
  • 9780062898104

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Boy Swallows UniverseWell what can I say but Trent Dalton you have left me speechless I've had Boy Swallows Universe on my shelf for several months now not wanting to pick it up afraid it wouldn't live up to the hype It lives up to it and It's the coming of age tale of Eli growing up in Brisbane's western suburbs raised by drug dealers We follow Eli and his brother August through all the bad things life could throw at them yet there are a lot of positives in their lives too Living in Brisbane I'm familiar with many of the locations in this book and knowing that it is semi autobiographical it really comes to life Totally absorbing I lost a day reading this bookThis book will make you laugh it will make you cry It is simply magnificent Thankyou Trent Dalton An utterly wonderful debut novel of love crime magic fate and a boy’s coming of age set in 1980s Australia and infused with the originality charm pathos and heart of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night TimeThe mind can take you anywhere you want to goEli Bell’s life is complicated His father is lost his mother is in jail and his stepdad is a heroin dealer The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim—a notorious felon and national record holder for successful prison escapes—who watches over Eli and August his silent genius of an older brotherExiled far from the rest of the world in Darra a seedy suburb populated by Polish and Vietnamese refugees this twelve year old boy with an old soul and an adult mind is just trying to follow his heart learn what it takes to be a good man and train for a glamorous career in journalism Life however insists on throwing obstacles in Eli’s path—most notably Tytus Broz Brisbane’s legendary drug dealerBut the real trouble lies ahead Eli is about to fall in love face off against truly bad guys and fight to save his mother from a certain doom—all before starting high schoolA story of brotherhood true love family and the most unlikely of friendships Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be Powerful and kinetic Trent Dalton’s debut is sure to be one of the most heartbreaking joyous and exhilarating novels you will experience “The key characters all draw on the people I love most in the world The most beautiful and complex people I’ve ever known and I never even had to walk out the door of my house to find them I just wanted to give the world a story To turn all these crazy and sad and tragic and beautiful things I’ve seen into a crazy sad tragic and beautiful story” Trent Dalton from an article by Dalton on why her wrote this book I read the above article after I finished this book and read the author’s note about how much of this novel is based on his childhood experiences and the story became so much meaningful Knowing this made me love these characters even and in spite of a few reservations Trent Dalton has absolutely turned “ all these crazy and sad and tragic and beautiful things I’ve seen into a crazy sad tragic and beautiful story” I have to admit that there were times when some of the things that happened here just didn’t feel realistic and some things towards the end felt over the top Maybe it was because I couldn’t be any removed from this world of drug dealers in this Brisbane suburb where these boys are raised Yet there is so much that l did love about this book and these characters that I couldn’t help but care about There is a truth to how much love this story emanates The silent understanding between Eli and his brother Gus the friendship between Eli and Slim the real Arthur Slim Holliday a criminal and jail breaker Eli’s unconditional love for his mother and her boyfriend Lyle in spite of the sordid and dangerous life of drug dealing that the boys are in the middle of these are the things that make this such a beautiful story Dalton is an award winning Australian journalist whom I had never heard of until now This is his first novel and he is definitely on my radar now with my hopes that he will write anotherI received an advanced copy of this book from HarperCollins through Edelweiss 5★“Lyle says he approaches a drug deal in the same way he approaches Mum when she’s in a bad mood Stay on your toes Stay alert Don’t let them stand too close to the kitchen knives Be flexible patient adaptable The buyerangry Mum is always right”Oliver Twist meets The Godfather Those were the first books that came to mind Films and TV that came to mind were Breaking Bad What’s Eating Gilbert Grape The Sopranos and possibly a bit of Stephen King But it’s 100% Trent Dalton and what an absolute legend he is This is bound to be at the top of my favourites list for a long time“Nothing connects a city uite like South East Asian heroin”This is based on his life his upbringing his alcoholic dad drug affected mother and drug dealer boyfriend Lyle of the opening uotation and the whole violent vicious drug scene where he grew up near Brisbane with three brothers The book however has only Eli telling the story and he has only one brother This is a novel not a memoir although if you listen to the author's interviews you could be excused for thinking it is and I'm scared to think how many of these life threatening experiences may have been hisEli Bell is 12 one year younger than August “Gus” Bell who doesn’t speak We learn about the harrowing near drowning that triggered that and as for the rest I really don’t know where to start It is a fabulous coming of age story like no other than I can think of Trent Dalton is already an acclaimed feature writer and journalist see below but this is way beyond that He lets the character of Slim Halliday who was a real life convicted criminal teach young Eli how to deal with whatever life throws at you I know him only as the character in the book although Dalton knew him in real life In the book he was known for having survived Black Peter the name for the solitary confinement most prisons call the hole “Slim says half of his Boggo Road prison mates would have died after a week in Black Peter because half of any prison population and any major city of the world for that matter is filled with adult men with child minds But an adult mind can take an adult man anywhere he wants to go ‘I could do things with time in there’ Slim says ‘I got so intimate with time that I could manipulate it speed it up slow it down Some days all you wanted was to speed it up so you had to trick your brain’”He would take himself fishing mentally catch fish clean them cook them roll a smoke watch the sunset and pass the time so busily he was surprised to see the end of the day But when he had an hour in the sun in the exercise yard he learned how to slow down time and stretch it out to feel like several hours What a great skillAnother trick he had made me think instantly of The Memory Code by Lynne Kelly about memory systems in civilisations around the world “Slim says a good way for me to remember the small details of my life is to associate moments and visions with things on my person or things in my regular waking life that I see and smell and touch often Body things bedroom things kitchen things This way I will have two reminders of any given detail for the price of one”Slim would choose marks and scars and spots on his body as his memory points the way we might collect souvenirs to remind us of something or the Australian Aboriginal memory code actually stores memories in places and trees and landscape“He’d thumb the peaks and valleys of his knuckles and they wold take him there to the hills of the Gold Coast hinterland take him all the way to Springbrook Falls and the cold steel prison bed frame of cell D9 would become a water worn limestone rock and the prison hole’s cold concrete floor beneath his bare feet summer warm water to dip his toes into ”Dalton can write the longest sentences and they are always just the right length for me His timing is great his characters are wonderful and terrifying and the story is warm and scary and thrilling and believable Eli adores his parents and his mum’s boyfriend and his “best friend” Slim He is basically a good kid but he does get up to than innocent childhood mischief and no wonder We meet all of these people not the least of whom is his mute brother Gus who writes in the air with his finger which Eli reads easily even backwards sometimes Gus likes to indicate he sees the future – we’re not so sure but something is going on there The chapters begin with three word titles “Boy Writes Words” and “Boy Loses Luck” and “Boy Parts Sea” – the kind of three word summary an editor he eventually works for demands a writer use to describe a story The drug lords the heavies with knives and machetes the really really REALLY scary dudes – these are all part and parcel of growing up for young Eli Bell And apparently a lot of it including the seeing Mum in prison on Christmas Day were all part of life for young Trent Dalton I’m so glad he discovered that he was a boy who could write words and not just in the airBeautifully written Memorable characters places you can see and smell and that sense of time and space you had when you were a kid They’re all hereThanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Australia for the preview copy from which I’ve uoted I haven’t begun to do this justice Listen to the author here He comes across as irrepressibly cheerful and enthusiastic What a life What a story herehttpswwwbetterreadingcomaupodc“Podcast guest Trent DaltonTrent Dalton is a staff writer for The Weekend Australian Magazine and former assistant editor of The Courier Mail He’s a two time winner of a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism a three time winner of a Kennedy Award for Excellence in NSW Journalism and a four time winner of the national News Awards Features Journalist of the Year”Photograph of Trent Dalton at the Better Reading podcast Boy Swallows Universe is a coming of age story like no other Dalton's beautiful prose compelling characters and emotionally tragic story was tinged with mystical elements that gave the book an almost otherworldly feelEli and August are brothers being raised amongst drugs violence and poverty Yet amidst all these dangers these boys have such a special bond and connection helping each other through heartache and tragedy Eli is the story's central character and his life is anything but easy His older brother August is a selective mute his mother and her boyfriend are drug dealers his babysitter is a notorious ex criminal and his drunken father is non existent in his life Despite all the violence and wrongdoing around him Eli has big aspirations for himself to become a journalist and above all be a good person The characters in this story were wonderful probably because they were loosely based on people in Dalton's childhood You can tell he fleshed them out from the heart They were vivid engaging and integral to the storyline Eli and August completely stole my heart what amazing boys Their sense of family and their desire to do something good was so strong You can't help but to root for them to finally have the kind of life they so desperately desire Thank you to Trent Dalton Harper Collins and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review an arc of this book I had to push myself to finish this novel This much lauded hyped novel I even went to see the author speak to a packed room at the Perth Writers' Festival so I was somewhat investedI won't go into too many details about the plot Boy Swallows Universe is a coming of age novel about Eli Bell who is brought up in a rough part of Brisbane by his drug peddling and occasional user mum and her boyfriend Lyle This novel has a very distinct Australian feel to it it almost feels put on although people in the know say it's pretty accurate for 1990s ueensland Boy Swallows Universe is filled with characters from the wrong side of the tracks people most of us have never come across Among all these people the brothers Bell Eli and his elder sibling Gus try to survive the best way they can Their mum is not the most stable person although she loves them Their father is an alcoholic agoraphobe who suffers from anxiety and depression In my view this novel is uite obviously a debut as it's self conscious while trying to be cruisy and uirky There are some good writing passages and uite a few interesting things fill this overly long novel But they are vignettes many times they stand alone as we move onto the next chapter uite abruptly Eli and his brother are charming characters albeit too saintlyThere are many aspects of the novel that are exaggerated and some were outright incredulous which doesn't really work for meSo in conclusion this was not bad but I never felt completely invested charmed or horrified This will go straight onto my virtual shelf of Australian coming of age novels that everyone but me loves This counts towards my Aussie Author Challenge 2019 on Eli is growing up in a small Australian suburb in the 1980s His mother is a junkie and in jail his father is nowhere to be found his stepfather is a drug dealer and his older brother August is a mute genius The only adult in his life is Slim a former prisoner who holds the record for the most escapesI truly love Slim because he truly loves August and me Slim was hard and cold in his youth He's softened with age Slim always cares for August and me and how we're going and how we're going to grow up I love him so much for trying to convince us that when Mum and Lyle are out for so long like this they are at the movies and not in fact dealing heroin purchased from Vietnamese restaurateursFor a 12 year old Eli has the mind and heart of an adult Even though his life is completely chaotic he craves normalcy—as much as he can get given the situation he's in He wants to be a journalist he wants to fall in love and he wants to be a good man better than those he's had in his lifeLife keeps getting in Eli's way It's up to him to care for his brother and to battle a truly dangerous drug dealer and then work to save his mum Through it all Eli sees that there are two paths to follow—the right and the wrong—and although the wrong may be the easier one to follow he knows he'll never recover if he takes that pathWhat's fascinating and eye opening about Boy Swallows Universe is that Trent Dalton based it on his own childhood and his relationship with his mother Even though I know people find themselves in really dangerous sad situations it's still a bit of a gut punch to realize how closely this crazy story mirrors real life I didn't know that going into reading this book so it gave it a dash of added poignancy upon reflectionI found the characters and their relationships really endearing but the narrative style of this book put me off Part of it was the Australian dialect the characters used and part was the truncated way some of the dialogue flowed There were times I had to re read some paragraphs just to be sure I knew what was happening so that kept me feeling not uite connectedThere is a tremendous amount of heart and charm in Boy Swallows Universe and some very memorable characters I know that many people enjoyed this book than I did so if it sounds intriguing definitely give it a shot It's a thought provoking heart warming and disturbing storyNetGalley and HarperCollins provided me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review Thanks for making it available See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoriablogspotcomCheck out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at You can follow me on Instagram at Why I wrote ‘Boy Swallows Universe’About three summers ago on a blazing hot Boxing Day in South east ueensland I was standing at the back of a small blue Holden Barina with my mum The boot hatchback door was up and I was helping my mum load a bunch of Christmas gifts and cooking euipment into her car We’d all just enjoyed a good family catch up in a shared Bribie Island holiday unit one of those nice peaceful Christmases where nobody argues about who was supposed to make the coleslaw and my mum was distracted for a moment by my daughter – she must have been about seven then – doing one of her impromptu interpretive dances through an avenue of coastal paperbark trees I followed her eyes and was naturally also uickly ensnared in this vision my girl’s hair blowing in the wind her bare feet making ballet leaps between those trees a stick in her hand acting as a wandThen out of nowhere and for no apparent reason – not moving her eyes for a second away from my daughter – Mum said something beautiful ‘I wouldn’t change any of it’ Mum said It sounds cheesy I know but that’s what she said ‘I wouldn’t change any of it If I had to go through it all again to get to this I would do it I wouldn’t change any of it’ It’s a blend of autobiography and fiction with a little magical realism and some severed body parts The title is from a story in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna’s mother sees the universe in her child As Dalton says in the Harper Collins blog “Love above all else is threaded through this novel I wanted to write about how it is possible to love someone who has killed How it is possible to love someone who has hurt you deeply How love is the closest thing we have to the truly profound”Sure It's tragic and sad but it’s also beautiful and funny I missed it after I finished ‘That’s some prize parenting right there my friend bringing your kids to a drug deal’ At first this sounded like another harmful story about the exploitation of a minor by an adult but I was repeatedly told that this is not the case with this book On the other hand people keep finding excuses to defend these so called romances I have seen it so many times in so many books And I am so tired of it So I will read this book and hope it won't disappoint So many good things about this book The totally perfect cover Not only the gorgeous colours but also its appropriateness to the story The writing Trent Dalton is a master of beautiful prose The characters I loved Eli and Gus and their solid and completely understanding relationship The story itself which was horrific and mystical by turns and always totally absorbing The ending which although a little far fetched was also satisfyingFor me it was slightly spoilt by too much information about drug dealing and the unnecessary overuse of two words which do not need to appear so freuently in a well written book So not uite the full five stars A memorable book though

About the Author: Trent Dalton

Trent Dalton writes for the award winning The Weekend Australian Magazine A former assistant editor of The Courier Mail he has won a Walkley been a four time winner of the national News Awards Feature Journalist of the Year Award and was named ueensland Journalist of the Year at the 2011 Clarion Awards for excellence in ueensland media His writing includes several short and feature length f