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The Gift of Speed


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A poignant and finely crafted novel about the arrival of the West Indian cricket team in small-town Australia. From the winner of the Miles Franklin Award.

About the Author

Steven Carroll was born in Melbourne. His first novel, Remember Me, Jimmy James, was published in 1992. The Art of the Engine Driver (2001) and The Gift of Speed (2004) were shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, which the final book in the trilogy, The Time We Have Taken, won in 2008. Steven Carroll lives in Melbourne with his partner and son.


It is the summer of 1960–61 and the West Indian cricket team is playing in Australia. The drama and emotion of that particular cricket season, both on and off the field, is an effective backdrop to this compelling story about realising one’s strengths and overcoming one’s weaknesses. Michael and his parents, Vic and Rita, are a fragile family, living in a small community where dreams and secrets are constantly simmering beneath the surface, testing all sense of hope and security. Cricket-obsessed Michael is training to be the ultimate fast-bowler, caught up in the fever of the game even as he begins to discover new feelings for the beguiling Katherine Marsden. Meanwhile, his parents’ relationship strains under the weight of depression and secrecy. When Michael’s dying, guilt-ridden grandmother comes to stay and he also discovers the local factory owner’s secret, Michael’s summer starts to take on new dimensions. If you enjoyed Steven Carroll’s The Art of the Engine Driver this latest offering is a must-read. While readers will recognise some recurring characters, be assured that this is not just a sequel. Carroll’s gift for evocative storytelling reaches new depths here and the result had me captivated. Kabita Dhara is fiction buyer at Dymocks Melbourne. C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

If, as they say, the past is another country, then Carroll is the ideal guide * Sydney Morning Herald *
Exquisite . . . There are times in this book where I paused to admire the subtle craft of what Carroll is doing. Every piece of this book is sanded and planed and perfectly joined * The Age *
A must read * Australian Publisher & Bookseller *
An elegantly simple yet carefully crafted and stylishly narrated story * Good Reading *

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