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Only Killers and Thieves: A Novel de Paul…

Only Killers and Thieves: A Novel (original: 2018; edição: 2018)

de Paul Howarth (Autor)

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18414116,280 (4.33)26
It is 1885, and a crippling drought threatens to ruin the McBride family. Their land is parched, their cattle starving. When the rain finally comes, it is a miracle that renews their hope for survival. But returning home from an afternoon swimming at a remote waterhole filled by the downpour, fourteen-year-old Tommy and sixteen-year-old Billy meet with a shocking tragedy.… (mais)
Título:Only Killers and Thieves: A Novel
Autores:Paul Howarth (Autor)
Informação:Harper (2018), Edition: 1st, 336 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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Only Killers and Thieves: A Novel de Paul Howarth (2018)


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Tommy and Billy McBride have grown up on an Australian cattle farm. In 1885, the farm was threatened by severe drought and the ensuing economic hardship. Their father refused help from his former employer John Sullivan, the wealthiest landowner in the district. The small staff of indigenous people left to find better work and escape the tensions of life on a struggling farm. And then one day, traged strikes.. Tommy and Billy are forced to get help from Sullivan, who forms a posse to seek revenge on the indigenous community he unquestionably believes was responsible. The boys join the search, which affects each of them profoundly, but in different ways. As unthinkable acts of violence are committed against indigenous people, Tommy realizes his idea of justice is radically different from Sullivan’s, and he pays a high price to extricate himself from this web of cruelty.

On the surface, this novel was a fast-paced story of revenge. But Paul Howarth is going for something deeper here: an indictment of white colonialism through a heartbreaking account of its bigotry-driven violence. ( )
  lauralkeet | Apr 24, 2021 |
Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth is an epic story about the Australian frontier in 1880s. It tells the story of the MacBride family, scratching a living out of raising cattle in the Outback wilderness of Queensland. Australia was finding that as more white people moved into the area with their livestock and fences, the aborigines were being forced off their ancestral lands. With no place for these natives to go, eventually the policy became one of genocide.

Ned McBride tries to avoid the racial tensions and hold his ranch together with the help of his two teenage sons. Their rich neighbour, John Sullivan, has become associated with Inspector Edmund Noone, the leader of the Native Mounted Police, and on whose authority the killing of natives becomes one of law rather than murder. One day the boys come home to find their father and mother have been shot dead. They blame the killings on a disgruntled native stock-man and appeal to Sullivan and Noone for their help. What follows is a sickening bloodbath as a small posse is formed to hunt down the killers, or any native they find, and extract revenge. Eventually the real facts of the murders are exposed, leaving the two boys to deal with their consciences as best they can.

Only Killers and Thieves takes an unflinching look at the brutality of the genocide that was carried out in the name of progress. And while the author definitely wants to expose this policy, the resulting story is riveting, well written and draws the reader into the Australian outback to experience first hand the reality of the violence and cruelty that was unleashed upon the indigenous population. If you can handle the violence, this is an excellent read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 21, 2020 |
If you like your reading to be vivid, violent, confronting, and troublesome then you'll sure like this one! It's the story of two young men, not boys but barely men, after a traumatic family event that sees them on a journey not of their choosing. The book describes the brutality of life in colonial Central Australia, the treatment of the indigenous population, and the rigorous adherence to the 'old ways' in this vastly alien and seemingly lawless world. A great debut from a new author that really captures the Australian Gothic aesthetic.
  DevilStateDan | Jan 27, 2020 |
"History is forgetting. Afterward we write the account, the account becomes truth, and we tell ourselves it has always been this way, that others were responsible, that there was nothing we could have done."

Central Queensland, Australia, 1885

Billy and Tommy McBride are teenagers, nearly men, who live in the unforgiving Australian bush with their parents. The drought has devastated their family farm and the worries about how they will survive is consuming them all. As the boys are out hunting any kind of animal that can provide their family with a meal, they witness a horrific murder of a native by the man who pretty much controls the entire district. Although they are sworn to secrecy in exchange for their lives, events turn ugly and brutal in no time at all.

I had never heard of Paul Howarth, but I will follow him to the ends of the earth. A tremendously skilled writer with the ability to take terrible events and the treatment of the native population in Australia and write one of the most moving narratives I've ever read. My heart went out to these boys who were forced to grow up overnight and end up taking very different paths. Make no mistake, this is absolutely brutal stuff and the ultimate revenge novel, but so incredibly well done that I was holding my breath as I listened to the wonderful audio rendition by David Linski. The evil characters are incredibly evil and the good characters are incredibly good. The ending makes perfect sense but tore my heart out. Fabulous read. ( )
1 vote brenzi | Sep 11, 2019 |
Right from the opening pages ONLY KILLERS AND THIEVES is brutal. Transporting readers to colonial Australia, this is a book that will should make you ponder how we got to be where we are. In the main this is a story about brutal people, doing unspeakable things - to Indigenous people, animals, and each other along the way. There's a ruthlessness portrayed here that's going to make you stop reading, to stare off into the distance. In fact the overwhelming feeling I came away from this book with was one of profound distress. At the brutality, at the carelessness, at the way that we seem to have taken to heart that cruelty and perpetuated it down the generations to where we are now. In a country that seemingly doesn't give a rats about the environment that has tried its hardest to sustain us; about our Indigenous population and the massive injustice done to them; that worships money, and ignores the corruption endemic in ensuring that some people have all the money, and others can simply go to hell.

Set in outback Australia in 1885, this is the story of opposites. The wealthy, influential squatter, successful farmer, even in times of drought, unsuccessful family man; and his neighbours, a small family struggling in the drought to remain viable, a close group of 2 boys, their young sister, mother and father, this family knows to keep away from their wealthy, nasty, (water stealing) neighbour John Sullivan. The boys, unfortunately, don't quite know the full story of why, but the discovery of their dead parents, and gravely injured sister, sees them turn to their neighbour for help, away from the Aboriginal stockman who has worked for them for years, as he's blamed for the massacre of their family. This triggers yet another murderous rampage by Sullivan and Inspector Edmund Noone of the Queensland Native Police.

Needless to say the boys are young, impressionable, and each of them reacts to the events of that deadly pursuit in their own way, each of them carries the outcomes of it in very different ways for the rest of their lives. It's a brutal, awful, horrific story, told in a beautiful manner. Confronting reading undoubtedly and some may find themselves physically affected by the tableau's drawn in vivid, clear, uncomfortable detail.

ONLY KILLERS AND THIEVES is an example of how crime fiction can be used to peel back the layers and analyse the darkness at the core of humanity, and it's hard to avoid the important point that white Australian's need to do some hard thinking about their attitudes to where we came from, how we colonised this country and exactly what we think we're achieving by ignoring lessons from the past.

https://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/only-killers-and-thieves-paul-howarth ( )
  austcrimefiction | Jun 5, 2019 |
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It is 1885, and a crippling drought threatens to ruin the McBride family. Their land is parched, their cattle starving. When the rain finally comes, it is a miracle that renews their hope for survival. But returning home from an afternoon swimming at a remote waterhole filled by the downpour, fourteen-year-old Tommy and sixteen-year-old Billy meet with a shocking tragedy.

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