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A powerful atmospheric verse novel set in the Victorian goldfields in the 1800s.
Traumatised by a fire in which her family perishes, the narrator poses as a boy on the goldfields. There, Sun Song, a Chinese market gardener is the only one to show any kindness. The narrator flees to the Chinese camp, taking the name Lin. But Ellery, a man with links to Lin's past, is determined to take over all rights on the goldfields, setting in place a dangerous sequence of events. To survive is a test of frienship and loyalty, and a catalyst for Lin to remember her tragic past.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781921150395
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Book Review: Ratwhiskers And Me by Lorraine Marwood - Reviewed by Boomert (16 Jan 2010)
Set in the 1800s in the Victorian goldfields, this prose-poetry novel throws the reader in at the deep end. There’s a narrator known only as ‘boy’, and a cast of characters with strange names like Ratwhiskers, Baldhead and Pigtail. It’s difficult to know what’s going on. Who are these people? What are they doing? And why is a dog smiling? But perseverance pays off and the confusion clears to reveal an exciting story that encompasses tragedy, treachery and a cross-cultural romance between a Chinese boy and an orphaned white settler girl. Written by poet and children’s author Lorraine Marwood (The Girl Who Turned into Treacle, Redback Mansion), this book has some lovely evocative descriptions. A gold nugget is described as ‘a misshapen bubble of toffee’; and a bush track is ‘as wide as a kangaroo tail.' The story is told, fittingly, in simple staccato phrases, as if uttered by someone with little breath to spare. The problem for junior readers-at whom this book is aimed-will be in getting them to push through those first puzzling pages. Once immersed, however, they’ll find themselves carried along by the rip-roaring adventure.
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