David Malouf tells the story of one Australian man, Digger Keen, and the people in his life.
Digger’s story starts with his mother’s arrival from England at the start of the 20th century. Having established a home and a store at Keen’s Crossing, children follow, but only Digger and his elder, “simple” sister Jenny survive to adulthood.
Digger’s experiences as a soldier and prisoner of war in Malaya and Thailand introduce us to the tales’ other key character, Vic Curran – a chap of conflicting characteristics whose life post war bring wealth and happiness, albeit built on slightly dodgy foundations. Having formed during their harsh PoW experience, and not always understood by either of them, the mateship between these two men is strong enough to endure the passing decades and the divergent paths their lives take.
It is a long novel, and the pace is slow – but this slow motion journey allows you to see and appreciate so much more about the characters and the times, places and events they live through. I loved every minute of it.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Great World – David Malouf