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1988

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  267 ratings  ·  17 reviews
An urgent generational novel by a talented Australian writer. When two frustrated artists take jobs at a remote weather station in Australia's Northern Territory--in hopes of finding solitude and inspiration--their journey affords an unflinching, original, and at times, hilarious look at what it means to grow up in the world today.
Paperback, 314 pages
Published March 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published December 15th 1996)
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Community Reviews

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Evelyn
Don't read this book if you're at all squeamish about things like boils. The main character, in fact just about all the characters, are total f--- ups, but somehow I found myself liking Gordon and really wanting things to turn out all right for him. It's a very evocative story and it has stuck with me long after reading it. Also, it made me want to play some Scrabble.
Mish
Great boys road book and memories of the expo year
Xavier University Library
Think of it as a Gen X Heart of Darkness that takes place in a remote Australian mangrove instead of on the Congo. A young Aussie, wasting his life away in Brisbane, signs up with an acquaintance to write a novel while monitoring a weather station in an isolated corner on the Indian Ocean. Before long, the isolation, constant drinking, lack of sleep, and crushing boredom brings his emotional and physical well-being into question. The punchy and direct style of writing McGahan uses is often bleak ...more
Melissa Burtt
Here's a hint - do not start reading this book in the morning when you plan to do a GST return that day.....sucked me right in - great read.
Steve
I'm curious how this would come across to a reader who didn't share that old pre-millennial malaise the novel is steeped in, but for me the characters' drifting lives of aspiration without much action were all too familiar (even if my own drifting around Australia came a couple years later than the novel is set). Still, if 1988 was only a portrait of a moment and generation it wouldn't be as strong a novel as it is: there are some pretty provocative questions raised about colonial history, eco-t ...more
Beckie
Dec 22, 2013 Beckie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2006
you'd think reading about other people's incredibly pointless lives (6 months spent drinking at a remote weather station) would make me feel better about my own, but i just ended up feeling even more sluggish. it was somehow an enjoyable read though, despite the many incidents that were built up to be potential life-altering, character-building moments, which the protagonist then either messed up or just ignored. i'm not sure if the ending was meant to be hopeful or just another such non-event. ...more
Lucy
Jul 26, 2007 Lucy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2006
you'd think reading about other people's incredibly pointless lives (6 months spent drinking at a remote weather station) would make me feel better about my own, but i just ended up feeling even more sluggish. it was somehow an enjoyable read though, despite the many incidents that were built up to be potential life-altering, character-building moments, which the protagonist then either messed up or just ignored. i'm not sure if the ending was meant to be hopeful or just another such non-event. ...more
Mala
I loved The White Earth and Underground, but this book was a dull slug to get through. Granted he is trying to create a mood of boredom, lethargy and nihilism - but it just felt affected. I get the feeling McGahan was following a style, a sort of grunge asthetic of writing which he has gotten over in his later works. This is a prequel to Praise which I seem to remember enjoying a lot more.
Eszter Faatima Sabiq
It is a prequel to Praise, written after Praise, but I read this one first. 1988 is the book written in the heads of millions of writer wannabes, yet not written by anyone else, especially not this well. Something like "He died with a felafel in his hands," just much more intelligent and insightful and less superficial.
Alison
Jan 27, 2010 Alison rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: stoned underacheivers who secretly love "Survivor."
This is a man vs. nature novel written from the point of view of an underemployed Australian slacker, who sets off to a remote outpost outside of Darwin he has nothing else to do. Things go about as badly as you might expect. Sort of like "Robinson Crusoe" meets "Generation X."
Stephanie Kratzmann
It has been a few years since I read this... I recall being really dissapointed as I loved "Praise". I remember reading this and thinking "so what"... However, my boyfriend at the time loved this book. Different strokes for different folks!
Nicholas
Gold! I inhaled this book. Super easy to read, the story pulls you through the pages at light-speed. A mean feat considering the story is about being stuck in the middle of nowhere doing fuck-all!
Jenna Smith
Something draws me to books that have a sort of human struggle; the main character struggles with who he is and lands on a rather painful journey through this 'soul searching'. Overrall i loved it.
Laura
Interesting and entertaining, but not a book that made me think or feel anything special. It was ok, guys would probably relate to the story and characters more than I was able to.
Timothy Munro
I devoured this in 24 hours. A simply-written, straightforward, compelling narrative about two drifting city-slickers caught for 6 months in a lonely, alien Aussie landscape.
Hylton
The prequel to Praise doesn't dissapoint...
Dennis
Love this book. Very Australian.
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Born in Dalby, Queensland, McGahan was the ninth of ten children and grew up on a wheat farm. His schooling was at St Columba’s and St Mary’s colleges in Dalby, and then Marist College Ashgrove in Brisbane. He commenced an Arts degree at the University of Queensland, but dropped out halfway through, in 1985, to return to the family farm, and to commence his first novel – which was never published. ...more
More about Andrew McGahan...
The White Earth Praise Wonders of a Godless World Last Drinks Underground

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