BUY

Blog

SCHOOLS

Website

Fremantle Press

Readers comments

Video

General blog

Purchase

-

The 2010 Miles Franklin Long List:

Lovesong, Alex Miller, Allen & Unwin
The Bath Fugues,Brian Castro,Giramondo Publishing
Jasper Jones,Craig Silvey,Allen & Unwin
Sons of the Rumour,David Foster,Pan Macmillan
The Book of Emmett,Deborah Forster,Random House
Siddon Rock,Glenda Guest,Random House
Boy on a Wire,Jon Doust,Fremantle Press
Figurehead,Patrick Allington,Black Inc. Publishing
Parrot and Olivier in America,Peter Carey,Penguin Group (Australia)
Truth,Peter Temple,Text Publishing
Butterfly,Sonya Hartnett,Penguin Group (Australia)
The People's Train,Tom Keneally,Random House


‘The novel is apparently autobiographical and is being publicised as such but Doust has done with his material what so many autobiographical novelists fail to do: he has turned it into a shapely story, with no extraneous material or diversions and with an absolutely consistent and convincing narrative voice.’ Sydney Morning Herald

The novel is set in the nineteen sixties in a farming and timber town in south-west Western Australia and in a Perth city boarding school. Jack’s practical, unimaginative father is a shopkeeper. His mother, emotionally volatile yet submissive, is a churchgoer who teaches Jack a strict system of truthfulness and respect. The parents produce two contrasting offspring. Unlike his stolid, capable elder brother Thomas, Jack is sensitive, witty, volatile, not to be trusted with machinery, and an indifferent scholar. His parents ascribe his shortcomings to a medical condition ....
Doust’s writing is powerful in its unpretentiousness. The spareness of his prose allows the content full impact. Skilful understatement in the telling adds drollery to the humorous passages. The author takes us deep into the tender, idealistic heart of the child Jack Muir. This is sincerely felt storytelling accomplished with a light but compelling touch.
Jo Donnellan, Oz Arts Review. [Full review]

'THE boarding-school experience - bullying prefects, sadistic teachers and cruel rituals - has produced some classic films and books. While there is much that is familiar about Jon Doust's recollections of ills at a West Australian grammar school in this semi-fictionalised memoir, Boy on a Wire does not simply rehash old themes. From the opening sentence, it is clear that we are in the presence of a writer with a distinctive voice and uncanny ability to capture the bewilderment and burgeoning anger of a boy struggling to remain true to himself while navigating the hypocritical system he finds himself trapped in. Accentuating the narrator's sense of failure is the fact that his older brother excels at everything he does. What saves the narrator from going under and what makes Boy on a Wire much more than a bleak coming-of-age story is Doust's sharp wit. "Justice not only prevails at Grammar School, it is rampant:' If you know an angry teenager, give this to him.' The Age

‘The boarding school memoir or novel is an enduring literary subgenre, from 1950s classics such as The Catcher in the Rye to Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep. Doust’s recognisably Australian contribution to the genre draws on his own experiences in a West Australian boarding school in this clever, polished, detail-rich debut novel. From the opening pages, the reader is wholly transported into the head of Jack Muir, a sensitive, sharp-eyed boy from small-town WA who is constantly measured (unfavourably) against his goldenboy brother. The distinctive, masterfully inhabited adolescent narrator recalls the narrator in darkly funny coming-of-age memoir Hoi Polloi (Craig Sherborne)—as does the juxtaposition of stark naivety and carefully mined knowingness.’ Bookseller+Publisher

‘…a hilarious, angry and sympathetic portrait of boys behaving badly, teeming with sadistic bullies, imperfect heroes, adolescent onanists and ice-cream gorging hedonists.’
The West Australian

‘…funny and poignant coming of age tale.’
Scoop Magazine

‘This highly readable novel will gain much notoriety with senior students, and the story it tells will be compared favourably with The Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies, as students grapple today with the same questions Jack asked 40 years ago.’
Magpies

‘In the long literary historical view – when time is given to take it – this will seem another small, but significant shift in the social reckonings that Australian fiction makes.’
Canberra Times

Sent to boarding school at a young age, Jack Muir decides he’s a survivor. He gets by with a quick wit and a fast mouth. Others aren’t so lucky.
This story from stand-up comedian and writer, Jon Doust, is humorous and deeply poignant - a close-to-the-bone tale of how underdogs survive the system.

It could change your life.

If you want to buy a copy, click HERE

 
Email Jon

 

There's no place like home
Click the panic button to get to Dousty's Home Page!

Click the star to get back to the top
Back to Top