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The Mango Tree

The Mango Tree is an evocative journey into a long-lost Australian childhood, and won the Miles Franklin award in 1974. It is a novel about a young man growing up in a country town in the early years of the 20th century which, like a faded letter from a forgotten lover, evokes bitter-sweet memories of the dream-days of youth in a world long past. As we follow Jamie through the joys and pains of growing up, a magic quality in the writing unlocks our own memories of childhood and adolescence so that we share with him again the delights of Christmas in the country, the sounds of the circus, the scent of horses, the tender fumblings of first love, the shock of sudden death. This magical tour takes us through the town from Comino's Café to the Royal hotel, from the great mango tree of the title to the quiet river with its island of petrified gum-trees. We meet Grandmother in her grey dress, stern but kindly; the Professor, a remittance man who drinks to escape a nameless past but who still has his moments of glory; poor, fated Maudie, the 'town bike', and her demonic guardian, Preacher Jones, ranting hell-fire and damnation to a terrible end; these and many more. A nostalgic book full of laughter and tears, to be swallowed at a sitting, or savoured slowly with delight. A tender, lyrical book.
Born in 1909 in Toowoomba, Ronald McKie was a respected journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald, a war correspondent during WW2, and used his expoerience to write the best-selling war stories Proud Echo (1953) and The Heroes (1960. Is best-seller and Miles Franklin winner, The Mango Tree, was made into a film in 1977, and was followed by two further autobiopgraphies, The Crushing and Bitter Bread.
* Classic Australian novel of growing up in Queensland, 1974 Miles Franklin award winner, made into a film in 1977. * Review copies, ABC Queensland interest.
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