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Publisher's Summary

Tasmania. 1952. The greens hills near Mole Creek hide a dark labyrinthine underworld of caves. They are dangerous and forbidden to children. But this is Tasmania — an island at the end of the earth. Here, rules are made to be broken.

For two young brothers, a hidden cave a short walk from the family farm seems the perfect escape from their abusive, shell-shocked father — until the older brother goes missing. Fearful of his father, nine-year-old Kip lies about what happened. It is a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Fifty years later, Kip has a young son of his own, but cannot look at him without seeing his lost brother, Tommy. On a mission of atonement, he returns to the cave they called Kubla to discover if it’s ever too late to set things right. To have a second chance. To be the father he never had.

©2016 Katherine Johnson (P)2019 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about The Better Son

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow thoroughly enjoyed this book

Katherine Johnson's "The Better son" is excellent right from the start the story grabs you and is difficult to stop listening to as you want to find out what happens next. This book delves into a complex family and community affected by war, violence, fear and the social norms of the era. Highly recommend. Steve Shanahan as always brings the book to life so beautifully - he is an excellent narrator of Australian literature.

4 people found this helpful

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Gripping story

Great story. Love Steven Shanahan' narration. He has a fabulous voice and does an outstanding job.

4 people found this helpful

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the lies we live with

This is a well read thoughtful book about the effect of lies rippling through lives and their legacy. The scences of the boys adventures are captivating against a backdrop of a world they fear.

2 people found this helpful

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Deep emotional exploration

A grim story where it seemed the author may have been exorcising some of their own demons. Could have done with some more light for my taste, but certainly well written and had me hooked the deeper into the book I got.

1 person found this helpful

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The Better Son

I could not put this book down,funny sad happy all rolled into one. Reminded me of my childhood growing up in the outback of Western Australia... Thank you Katherine i just loved it.. Ria Swertz, Perth

1 person found this helpful

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Couldn't put it down.

A++++++ A tragedy set in Australia that moved me to gasp, laugh and cry out loud multiple times.

1 person found this helpful

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Up there with Charles Dickens

Brilliant book. Certainly one of the best I have had the pleasure to read. Congratulations Katherine.

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Slow start but builds to a good ending

The book starts slowly. i wasn't sure if I was going to keep going. Glad I did. I cried and smiled without realising. Performer does a great job bringing the characters and places to life.

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Set in Mole Creek and the underground caves shadowed by The Great Western Tiers

The Tasmanian mystique in literature gains my attention. Set in Mole Creek and the underground caves shadowed by The Great Western Tiers is captivating. The book brings together a story of Tasmanian rural life of the 1950s with tragedy, hardship and abuse. It’s unpleasant in parts and the natural beauty of this region is lost in the bleak setting and sadness. “The Better Son”, raises the issue of an mistreated child and injustice. The tragedy that unfolds in this story, calls out for a resolution that is very slow to emerge. I found the book became bogged down in dialogue and description. There is little excitement and the suspense of the problem scenario falls flat. The audiobook narration was grating, rasping and overdramatised. I’m a native Australian speaker and I found the accent harsh and unpleasant. The narrator’s mispronunciation of Launceston is unforgivable! Why was this error not spotted? I’m sure the author would be disappointed.

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Heart wrenching story

The kind of story you want to keep reading as the characters entwine and what you think will happen changes. Well written and well read. The emotion of situations and relationships grab you

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.