Thirteen-year-old David is confused and staying in Bondi with his grandparents. His mum seems to have abandoned him to run off with her lover, and his grandfather, Jimmy, spends his days at the local RSL grumbling with his best mates, all of them Jewish survivors of the Thai-Burma Railway.
Mark Dapin is the author of the novels King of the Cross and Spirit House. King of the Cross won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, and Spirit House was long listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year and the Royal Society for Literature's Ondaatje Prize. His recent work of military history, The Nashos' War, has been widely acclaimed. He is a PhD candidate at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
'A little masterpiece of comedy and torment.' The Australian, 'Books of the Year' 'A literary cocktail of rare originality ...The writing has real freshness ...the story glides effortlessly from an intriguing start to a heart-warming resolution ...Dapin impresses with the understated authority of his storytelling.' The Telegraph (UK) 'Every now and then you can run across a writer who does a little magic. They take something that almost everyone thinks they know something about, re-examine it from a completely unexpected direction and present the reader with a whole new take on their expectations ...Mark Dapin has pulled off a deeply human, but particularly Australian, bit of magic.' Courier-Mail 'Dapin is funny, poignant, vibrantly witty and his novel is a treat from its elegiac opening to its bitter, unexpected close.' Canberra Times 'Strikingly original, this is a novel of war and its terrible legacies that eschews sentimentality, that is full of uniquely funny and wonderfully human characters, and is also profoundly moving and honourable. The voices are vivid, complex, authentic and richly democratic. This is a remarkably strong book.' Christos Tsiolkas 'Destined for classic status in every sense of the word. It is powerful, poignant, moving, tragic and intensely distressing. It is a feast of a story which will almost simultaneously move you to tears and bring a smile to your face ...Buy, beg, borrow or steal this novel. You won't regret it.' ABC Radio Brisbane 'Dapin's achievement is to bring the past to life through memorable moments and characters in whom one can believe. The use of comedy to juxtapose the brutality of war is well measured, leading to a resolution with the past and a kind of grace for those in the present.' Sydney Morning Herald 'A compassionate, subtle and darkly humorous novel about a complex subject - it deals with male psychology and the architecture of historical wounds terrifically well.' Judges for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize 'Dapin richly and disquietingly combines the voices and viewpoints of Jimmy, a survivor of Japanese captivity on the Burma railway, and his grandson David, who has been abandoned by his parents in Sydney, in 1990. One of the most original of fictional depictions of Jewish - Australian life, this is also a fresh account of brutality and resistance in time of war. Dapin's command of the vernacular invigorates every page of a bold and satisfying novel.' Judges for the Age Book of the Year award