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Boy Swallows Universe

Narrated by: Stig Wemyss
Length: 16 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,141 ratings)
Non-member price: $25.41
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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling novel that has taken Australia, and the world, by storm. Winner of Book of the Year at the 2019 Indie Book Awards. "Without exaggeration, the best Australian novel I have read in more than a decade." (Sydney Morning Herald

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer. But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum. 

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous, and exhilarating novel you will read all year - an instant Australian classic.

Winner of Debut of the Year and Book of the Year at the 2019 Indie Book Awards; winner of the 2019 MUD Literary Awards; shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literary Awards; longlist for the 2019 ABIA Awards.

"Marvelously plot-rich ... filled with beautifully lyric prose ... the characterization, too, is universally memorable, especially that of Eli and August. At one point Eli wonders if he is good. The answer is 'yes,' every bit as good as this exceptional novel." (Booklist

"Trent Dalton is the most extraordinary writer - a rare talent. A major new voice on the Australian literary scene has arrived." (Nikki Gemmell)

 "An astonishing achievement. Dalton is a breath of fresh air - raw, honest, funny, moving, he has created a novel of the most surprising and addictive nature. Unputdownable." (David Wenham) 

"I couldn't stop reading from the moment I started, and I still can barely speak for the beauty of it. Trent Dalton has done something very special here, writing with grace, from his own broken heart." (Caroline Overington)

"Stunning. My favourite novel for decades. Left me devastated but looking to the heavens." (Tim Rogers)

"One of the best Australian novels I've ever read." (The Guardian)

©2018 HarperCollins Publishers Australia pty Ltd (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Australia pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Trent Dalton is the most extraordinary writer - a rare talent. A major new voice on the Australian literary scene has arrived." (Nikki Gemmell)

"An astonishing achievement. Dalton is a breath of fresh air - raw, honest, funny, moving, he has created a novel of the most surprising and addictive nature. Unputdownable." (David Wenham) 

"I couldn't stop reading from the moment I started, and I still can barely speak for the beauty of it. Trent Dalton has done something very special here, writing with grace, from his own broken heart." (Caroline Overington)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Al
  • 01-07-2018

Exceptional

I selected this book without much thought but can't recommend it highly enough. The performance by the reader was perfect too.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Hard to press stop!

This was a wonderfully written and read. It brought Queensland in 80's to life. Highly recommend this title.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Not for me, sadly

I’m sure this book deserves all the accolades it has received but I found the audio and characters very difficult to warm to, the narrators tone and the books descriptive obscurities inhibited my ability to picture the characters and setting. It felt like a literary task rather than an enjoyable escape and I found myself avoiding it to listen to others. Perhaps a book better read by oneself.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

This is an incredible story brilliantly brought to life through the narration of Stig Wemyss. This is the first time I have had a story come to life through the telling and it is a wonderful example of what audio books are all about. This book has occupied my commute to and from work for the last week and now I don't know what I'll do without it!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Get it!

I was totally impressed with this book. The story was brilliant and well put together and the narrator was excellent. I was totally spellbound right from the start. Another book where life gets in the way of a great story. Looking forward to future books.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Love love love

What an incredible story! I loved it so much and I’m so sad it’s over! It reminded me of The Goldfinch ... but better. A must read. Enjoy!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Ugh

The narrator was quite annoying to listen to that I gave up and asked for a refund.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Listen to it, you'll love it.

This has got to be the best audio book I've listened to. The narrator encapsulates the characters, era, location and demographics perfectly.

The story holds and grabs you throughout every bizarre turn in a hilarious roller coaster that is the life of Eli Bell.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Rambling and uninteresting

Tried to get in to this book but it just wasn't grabbing me. Story is rambling, weird and has no sense of direction. I sadly had to give up on this story.
I would not recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Rubbish on paper, send it to recycling.

DNF, could not finish! This book could be the most boring, most uninteresting book I’ve ever read. It is ridiculous in so many ways with a story line that doesn’t even exist. It’s dribble on paper that you must stay away from. I’m not sure what I’ve missed, but surely the good reviews are written by people that this so-called novel resonates with because it absolute rubbish!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 16-02-2019

Brilliant!

I wasn’t sure after the first few chapters but so glad I continued. The character development was incredible, heart-wrenching and brutally honest.
Book of the year for me as the narration was as brilliant as the story.

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  • Susan Myers
  • 04-01-2019

Brilliant!

I loved this book - an enthralling story written with wit and style. And with the added bonus of one of the best narrations I’ve heard on Audible. Stig’s accents and intonations of the different voices were perfect.

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  • marlene
  • 12-11-2018

Most devastatingly heart wrenching story ever.

This has to be the most devastating and beautiful story I've ever heard. It had me cheeringcheckout loud and it had me sobbing my heart out. I loved it entirely.

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  • J
  • 12-09-2018

Entertaining but needs an editor

Dalton’s use of metaphor was excellent at times, stretched at others. I can wear that, and I get that he’s aiming at an Australian audience, hence the many references to so many Australian consumer products. I did feel though that the manuscript needed a good edit. (‘he said inquiringly, she said cautiously....etc.). There was also a fair bit of repetition, there are only so many ways to say the same thing. I made it almost halfway before the authors use of adverbs drove me nuts and I couldn’t go on. Plenty of gems in this book, overall 2 stars.