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The Dickens Boy

Narrated by: David Tredinnick
Length: 14 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

Non-member price: $26.95

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Publisher's Summary

The 10th child of Charles Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, known as Plorn, had consistently proved unable 'to apply himself ' to school or life. So aged 16, he is sent, as his brother Alfred was before him, to Australia. 

Plorn arrives in Melbourne in late 1868 carrying a terrible secret. He has never read a word of his father's work. He is sent out to a 2,000-square-mile station in remotest New South Wales to learn to become a man and a gentleman stockman, from the most diverse and toughest of companions. In the outback he becomes enmeshed with Paakantji, colonists, colonial-born, ex-convicts, ex-soldiers and very few women.

Plorn, unexpectedly, encounters the same veneration of his father and familiarity with Dickens' work in Australia as was rampant in England. Against this backdrop and featuring cricket tournaments, horse-racing, bushrangers, sheep droving, shifty stock and station agents, frontier wars and first encounters with Australian women, Plorn meets extraordinary people and enjoys wonderful adventures as he works to prove himself.

This is Tom Keneally in his most familiar terrain. Taking historical figures and events and reimagining them with verve, compassion and humour. It is a triumph.

©2020 Tom Keneally (P)2020 Penguin Random House Australia

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Most Enjoyable Tale

Great story of Dickens' sons in 19th century New South Wales, told in Kenneally's great style. Tom just keeps getting better. I noted one minor error in geography but it did not detract from the story. Narration is excellent.

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Thoroughly enjoyed the tale of Plorn

The coming of age of young 'Plorn' by Tom Keneally is a great listen. Brilliantly narrated, it tells of the struggle for young Dickens as he navigates his way to adulthood and the struggle to prove his worth to his legendary father, and himself. Each listen I found myself transported to the dusty Moonbah station in far western New South Wales, or to the billabongs along the Darling, with the Bonney brothers gently guiding their young apprentice, merinos by the thousands, Waler horses, Captain Starlight, young Connie, Mrs Wivenhoe.. A great yarn from an iconic era. Thoroughly enjoyed it.