9 May 2015

Review: ODDFELLOWS, Nicholas Shakespeare - a novella

Synopsis ( author website)

On 1 January 1915, ramifications from the First World War, raging half a world away, were felt in Broken Hill, Australia, when in a guerrilla-style military operation, four citizens were killed and seven wounded. It was the annual picnic day in Broken Hill and a thousand citizens were dressed for fun when the only enemy attack to occur on Australian soil during World War I, took them by surprise. Nicholas Shakespeare has turned this little known piece of Australian history into a story for our time.

My Take

A riveting novella published on the centenary of the event in Broken Hill when two Afghan cameleers, long resident in Australia, decided to stand up for Turkey with whom Australia was soon to be at war, and attack the New Year's Day picnic. This is the author's fictionalised version of the event, in which he describes how "Australians" felt about the long standing Islamic camp that existed in their town, and surmises what pushed the perpetrators to such drastic action.

It is a quick read that gives you a lot to think about.

My rating: 4.4

About the author: 
Nicholas Shakespeare was born in 1957. The son of a diplomat, much of his youth was spent in the Far East and South America. His books have been translated into 20 languages. They include The Vision of Elena Silves (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Snowleg, The Dancer Upstairs, Secrets of the Sea, Inheritance and Priscilla. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He currently lives in Oxford.
Author Lives In: Oxford, England
See Wikipedia for factual details about the event.

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