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The Fine Colour of Rust

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  356 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
If you loved A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, you'll love The Fine Colour of Rust.
Paperback, 247 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by HarperCollins Australia
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(showing 1-30)
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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Left behind in Gunapan by her lousy husband with her two children, Loretta Boskovic drives the dusty road from her house to town, staring out at the scrubby bushland dreaming of rescue by a handsome lover and a car radio that gets something other than racing commentary. In this unique, wryly observed novel, Paddy O'Reilly captures the essence of a lonely Australian bush town and it's ordinary residents with humour and heart.
The author's protagonist is a woman you will find in any small town, sh
...more
Helene Young
Apr 02, 2012 Helene Young rated it it was amazing
This is a review for the Australian Women Writers Challenge.

The genre? I'll call it contemporary fiction with humour - truckloads of it.

When we first meet Loretta Boscovic she's daydreaming about dumping her kids in an orphanage and riding off into the sunset with her dream lover - on a Harley no less. A single mum, she lives with her two children in dusty town called Gunapan.

I was captivated from the opening pages. With sparse words, P.A. O'Reilly skilfully crafts a strong image of a strugglin
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Brenda
Loretta Boskovic was a single mother, having been deserted by her husband Tony, with promises of money and contact with the kids, Melissa and Jake…so far none of THAT had happened! Loretta lived in Gunapan, a very small country town in Victoria, Australia. It had the usual small town problems, with drought and a lack of water being only a part of it: there was only one school, one small supermarket and several other struggling businesses. The nearest large town was a couple of hours away.

Norm St
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Maree Kimberley
It's always a good feeling when a book you've been looking forward to reading meets your expectations. Everything about The Fine Colour of Rust worked for me: the familiar country town landscape, the eccentric characters, the small town political intrigue and the ups and downs of family relationships (particularly the all too typical self-absorbed deadbeat dad who is keen to leave his former family behind). There are some scenes that are absolute gems: the minister's tour of the butcher's abatto ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Loretta Boskovic is a different woman from the one her useless husband and the father of her two children walked out on several years ago. She's no longer the same chain-smoking, easily-intimidated frump that he would remember if he ever came back to the small rural town of Gunapan in Victoria - well, the frumpy part is still pretty much true, but Loretta is fine with that. She's got a job, though money's still tight; she's active in the community and leads the Save Our School (SOS) committee, r ...more
ALPHAreader
Sep 04, 2012 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing
Loretta Boskovic dreams of lantern-jawed man with rough stubble, spurs on his boots and a purring Harley-Davidson. In reality Loretta wears creaking $2 bras and underwear on its last elastane legs, she has an overgrown lawn, clunking car and two kids to raise on her lonesome after her no-good husband bolted three years ago. And the cherry on top of Loretta’s life is Gunapan – the rusted old town situated somewhere in the forgotten Australian bush; so far out of mind that the local council want t ...more
Jenny Schwartz
Feb 23, 2012 Jenny Schwartz rated it it was amazing
Loretta, the story’s heroine and narrator, is brilliantly conveyed in her humour, failings and courage. Her small town home is portrayed with an awareness of its shortcomings and yet, celebrates a sense of community.

I’m not sure how to phrase my response to this novel — reviewing is a tough gig!

The thing is, the theme of The Fine Colour of Rust seems to me to be desperation -- you know, the rust breaking through. But if I say that, you’ll think the book is depressing, and it’s not. The book is f
...more
Courtney Stuart
Oct 02, 2013 Courtney Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I LOVED this book and want to recommend it to everyone....

My only concern is that if my none Aussie friends read this book they will suddenly see Im not so original just truly Australian to the core.

The characters are believable and lovable even in the honesty of their flaws....

The throw away lines are absolute classics.....it was an honest laugh out aloud read (and not a LOL) for me....
James Tierney
Mar 05, 2012 James Tierney rated it really liked it
I can't do as much justice to this book as the gorgeous Charlotte Wood, who summed it up beautifully in 140 characters on twitter thus:
"The Fine Colour of Rust updates rural archetypes with a bitingly accurate wit & sharp eye, yet never loses its tender heart. Fabulous book."
Yes.
Susan
Aug 29, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 out of 5 stars. I loved everything about this book, beginning with its intriguing title. So many of us can relate to Loretta, who desperately loves her children but has wonderful fantasies about the man, various versions of him, whom she is going to meet after she drops the kids off at the orphanage.

Caught up in her small Aussie town's (well, mostly her) attempt to save the local school, she petitions, makes signs, organizes, and becomes someone to generally avoid, even in a town where peopl
...more
Diane
Sep 19, 2012 Diane rated it did not like it


I generally give books about 100 pages before giving up - this one was 113. I had read good reviews, but this was just dragging. Loretta is a single mom(still married, but her husband ran off) of 2 kids. The setting is a rural area in Australia. Loretta is fighting to save the local school that is. Set to be shut down. The story might be going somewhere, but it seems amused by it's own characters and wit. I was not.
Judy
Dec 15, 2016 Judy rated it liked it
A sweet story about friendships, the type who become family.
Pam Asberry
Jun 26, 2013 Pam Asberry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this unique, laugh-out-loud funny and insightful novel by Australian author Paddy O'Reilly.

From the back cover:

"Set in the Australian bush, a wryly funny, beautifully observed novel about friendship, motherhood, love, and the importance of fighting for things that matter.

"Loretta Boskovic never dreamed she would end up a single mother with two kids in a dusty Australian country town. She never imagined she'd have to campaign to save the local primary school. She certainly ha
...more
Emily Fox
Feb 19, 2015 Emily Fox rated it really liked it
Loretta daydreams about dropping her two kids off at an orphanage and riding away into the sunset on a Harley in the arms of a man straight out of a romance novel. The reality couldn’t be more different: her life in the Australian country town of Gunapan consists of campaigning to save the local primary school and having heart-to-hearts with the town junkyard man.

Though she never expected her life to turn out this way, something is finally going right: her hard work has paid off and the educatio
...more
Nancy McKibben
Feb 03, 2013 Nancy McKibben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like foreign settings and chick lit lite
Shelves: reviewed, chick-lit
The Fine Color of Rust
By P. A. O’Reilly

This book has many of the ingredients of chick lit, especially its feisty, independent heroine whose feckless husband abandoned her and her two children three years before the story opens. But it transcends its genre and becomes simply a good read.

First, the setting, which is a small, battered town in the Australian outback. The author does an admirable job of transporting the reader to Australia. Who knew that it sometimes gets so hot there that the birds
...more
Mandy
Jan 12, 2013 Mandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fine Color of Rust focuses on Loretta Boskovic, single mother living in the fictional Australian bush town of Gunapan. Recently abandoned by her husband, Loretta spends her time trying to make ends meet while providing for her two young children, Melissa and Jake. Looking for a way to help her community, Loretta is deeply invested in the town’s committee to stop the local school from being closed and forcing the children to be bused to school and hour away.

While reading this book, I realized
...more
Lisa Walker
Apr 28, 2012 Lisa Walker rated it it was amazing
‘The Fine Colour of Rust’ is a departure from literary fiction for Paddy O’Reilly, who has previously written a novel and a short story collection. Hence she is writing as P.A., rather than Paddy.
The book is the story of Loretta Boskovic, who lives in Gunapan, a dusty town in north-west Victoria. Loretta describes herself as an ‘old scrag standing with her hands on her hips, pursing her thin lips, squinting into the sun. You could make a statue of that. It would look like half the women in thi
...more
Lydia Laceby
Jul 10, 2013 Lydia Laceby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes.


Loretta Boskovic doesn’t take herself too seriously, her love for her kids is palpable, and her sense of social responsibility is admirable. She’s an easy character to love and root for and The Fine Colour of Rust is both humourous and heartwarming.

Loretta’s fantasies about being whisked away from her life by a gorgeous man with fancy wheels had me giggling all the way through. You know it’s just her fantasy and you can’t help but relate. Who hasn’t wanted to
...more
Sheree
Set in the small Australian town of Gunapan, The Fine Colour Of Rust showcases universal themes of life, motherhood, community, friendship and social injustice with distinct Aussie flavour.

After a 'meh' start ... not sure what was going on there, maybe just my mood, O'Reilly's wry observations and dry humour won me over and I quickly became immersed in the heat and dust of Gunapan, charmed by the town's population.

My grandparents lived in rural NSW in a small town very similar to Gunapan. Readi
...more
Pete Loveday
Jul 31, 2016 Pete Loveday rated it it was amazing
My thoughts:
The book is the story of Loretta Boskovic, a single mother whose useless husband has abandoned her and their two children. They live in Gunapar, a small, by-passed Victorian country town that has a lot of single mothers. As Loretta says; ‘It’s been so long for most of the single mothers in this town, we’ve forgotten what it was that husbands do to make us mothers in the first place.’
Loretta fantasises about leaving her children in an orphanage and riding off into the sunset with a m
...more
Notbagels
Mar 01, 2013 Notbagels rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Aaaaand the next one I picked up was a quitter, too. I don't blame this book as much as I did the last one. I mean, it wasn't great, but it didn't actually claim to BE great, either. It was an impulse library grab off the New Reads shelf. The title is somewhat eloquent and it has the feel of those literary grown-up books that I feel like I'm SUPPOSED to be reading since I left college and became an "adult." Reading and ENJOYING, I suppose, is what I feel like someone somewhere is expecting of me ...more
Paula  Phillips
Oct 14, 2012 Paula Phillips rated it really liked it
Set in the heart of a small rural town in Australia called Gunapan we meet local woman Loretta Boskovic , she moved to the town with her husband Tony and two kids Melissa and Jake . Loretta lived the countrytown dream until one day her husband just disappeared from their lives. Now three years later, Loretta lives in the state between reality - a mother with two children and her dreamworld - of meeting a handsome man who whisks her off to another world , but not until she has dropped her two kid ...more
Lisa
Dec 01, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is going to have to be a rather skimpy review: The Fine Colour of Rust by P.A. (Paddy) O’Reilly is so popular that the library would only let me have it for a short time and so I had to scamper through it without taking my usual copious notes.

It’s easy to see why it’s so popular: it’s funny, it’s heart-warming and it’s quintessentially Australian. It’s the story of single-mum Loretta Boskovic who introduces herself like this:

‘Well, I’d better pick up the kids,’ I say. I don’t want to pick
...more
Angela Savage
Jun 01, 2012 Angela Savage rated it really liked it
I started reading PA (Paddy) O'Reilly's wonderful novel The Fine Colour of Rust in Swan Hall in Victoria's Mallee region. I was staying with a friend who, like the novel's main character Loretta Boskovic, runs the local Neighbourhood House. She also loves a good read and although it nearly killed me, I simply had to leave the book with her. A week later, I managed to get myself a new copy, picked up where I left off and finished it within 24 hours.

There is so much to like in this book, from the
...more
 Gigi Ann
Apr 30, 2013 Gigi Ann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Without the synopsis of this book above I would have trouble trying to decide what this book was about. I did not find this book 'wryly funny' as I struggled through reading the WHOLE book, why? Because I bought it with my hard earned money and decided I was going to read it no matter how long it took me to get it read.

I found in this book a lot of whining about the heat. A lot of ranting, moving from one situation to another. Many times I got a bit lost in the story and had to back up and try
...more
Freda Mans-Labianca
My first trip to Australia!
Even if only in story.... I liked it too and would go back! I also liked the family that the story was centered around. The mother, Loretta, reminded me of Erin Brockovich. She knows that there is an injustice going on and she tries to stop it. With it being about nature and development is where I draw lots of similarities.
I hope another book comes with Loretta and Justin falling in love. That is literally the only way this story could get sweeter.
I admit, I liked the
...more
Aimee
Aug 28, 2012 Aimee rated it really liked it
This was a really fun book to read, I laughed out loud several time while reading it. What I liked the most about the book were the characters. Every single character was quirky and interesting and I loved reading about the whole crazy lot of them. The main character is Loretta, a single mom trying to make it on her own. She was far from perfect but tries her best and I loved her for it. She gets herself into some sticky situations that will have you either laughing or crying right along with he ...more
Jean
Aug 16, 2012 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, this was not great, it did not grab me by the shoulders and shake me up or anything like that, BUT, it is a good, solid read. Nothing earth shattering, but a good, solid story about a single mom, her two children, living in a hard scrabble town in Australia. Her good-for-nothing ex is out of the picture, mostly. She involves herself with issues in town, the local school, in particular, and organizes meetings to help save the school, etc. She has her struggles but just charges head on into th ...more
Julia
Sep 04, 2014 Julia rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and it was a second read for me. So funny, and so Australian. A story about battlers, frustrated desire, dodgy council deals, and mother love : one that can swing from intense and brave to irritable and self pitying, all in a hot summer afternoon. Loretta is a single mum , marooned in a small country town where the local school is about to close. Feisty, and street smart, she finds herself up against officialdom but also the well meaning but realistic local townsfolk, who acce ...more
Lora
Jun 05, 2012 Lora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loretta Boskovic lives in the small outback town of Gunapan with her two children, Melissa and Jake. Her husband, Tony, left years ago. Loretta spends her time working at Neighbourhood House, chatting with her close friend, Norm, trying to save the local school, and thinking about the town's new mechanic, Merv Bull. But when it looks like a luxury resort will be built outside of town, taking recently-discovered local water from the drought-stricken area, Loretta finds herself with a new cause. F ...more
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“Outside in the yard, the rusted tractors and car bodies, the harvester combs and the sheets of corrugated iron, the motors and trays and wheel rims and cyclone wire and steel drums and sheep skulls and windows and metal lockers and a single broken vending machine crack and sigh as the morning sun evaporates the dew from their hides.” 2 likes
“I'm sure their mother was in a childbirth fog when she named them Timothy and Tamsyn.” 2 likes
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