I’ve been reading – or more accurately, listening to – the audiobook version of Boy Swallows Universe, by Trent Dalton. What an astounding book this is. Part fiction, part autobiographical, it is the story of 12 year old Eli Bell, a character who is as memorable as Pip from Great Expectations. It’s the story of Eli and his brother Augustus who face the challenges of growing up in one of Brisbane’s poorer suburbs in the 1980’s, in a milieu of poverty and violence, populated by criminals, drug dealers, jail escapees and inmates. It is also where the boys experience love and compassion, sometimes in the most surprising places.
I heard an interview with the author, who said that people have often commented to him that they found it hard to tell which events and characters were fictional and which were based on real events and people. It is, truly, impossible to know.
Buy or borrow a copy or download the audiobook to listen to. You won’t regret it.
And what a cracker of a title! How could you not want to read a book with a title like this one?
Here’s a Goodreads quote about this book: A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.