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The Laughing Clowns

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  92 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Peter Kennedy is a very large man who is remarkably happy with his life. Yet something is not quite right, and it started with a dream that smelt of luncheon meat.

Peter is successful at what he does, even though he is not sure what that is anymore. When Titan Development contracts him to go to Queensland to assess a prime piece of real estate on the Pickersgill Peninsula S
Paperback, 296 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Hachette Australia (first published September 25th 2012)
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This Charming Mum
Feb 19, 2013 This Charming Mum rated it really liked it
This is the story of Peter Kennedy – a development consultant from Melbourne sent to the Pickersgill Peninsula, just north of Brisbane, to assess some prime real estate (the local Showgrounds). Kennedy is a big man – literally and in terms of his perceived lot in life – who leads a comfortably middle class existence in the leafy suburbs. He has nothing, in particular, to be unhappy about and yet he is not enjoying his life. He loves his wife and his kids, but he has trouble showing it. He is of ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
An unremarkable, but very enjoyable book about ordinary people with ordinary lives and aspirations. Easy to read, mildly touching, amusing and reflective of people and circumstances that most Australians can relate to. The story of a typical mid-life business man sent to his home town with a brief that may bring significant change to the community reveals a great moral tale of life priorities and the appreciation of the people who make up your life. It's the type of story that could easily be ...more
Jul 01, 2014 Meg rated it really liked it
Love William McInnes...Middle age crumpet!
As a literary text it's a bit plain speaking and rather too many similes and metaphors used, but they are useful for the nostalgia factor. I lived in Redcliffe where the story is set and despite renaming etc it was very much The Peninsula. The places the people, the events were all very familiar and offered a warm fuzzy feeling.
The story itself is charming a "finding oneself" recount full of reflection and coffee and hotdogs!
A great holiday read.
Dec 11, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed The Laughing Clowns. I think anyone who grew up in Australia in the 1970's will find a lot to love, laugh or smile about here. It's possible that the author William McInnes (yes, the actor) overdoes his writing just a tiny bit sometimes, but saying that, I found myself laughing a lot. The ending was a bit predictable but who cares, the rest of the story made up for that, and quite frankly it was a book that couldn't have ended up any other way. Recommended reading :)
Jan 26, 2013 Michelle rated it liked it
This book only just made it to the 3 star slot.
It faltered in the middle, but he rounded it off well.

It's him - big and goofy ........ and oh so Australian.
It's his Mum and Dad and family ......... and it's oh so Australian.

It made me laugh, it made me cry ...... perfect Australia Day read - not his best effort by a mile, but oh so Australian.
Jan 05, 2013 Bryan rated it really liked it
McInnes has a great capacity for description of ordinary Aussie life, from mid 20th century till 2013. His characters, conversations, dress, town landscapes, travel pictures struck chords many times for me. Then he creates a warm feel good story along the fathering theme.
I did find the memories within memories within memories hard to get my head around at first though!
Jacinta Crealy
Apr 01, 2013 Jacinta Crealy rated it it was ok
Just couldn't work out what I thought of this. My trade paperback was 287 pages long. I started to enjoy it at Page 218. The main character went from being quite a disconnected human being to experiencing some kind of epiphany that was poignant and somehow lovely. Leading up to this point, it was frustrating reading. Lots of time shifts which would have been OK, but the story would move from the present into a memory, which would delve into a further memory, and somehow try to swim back up to ...more
Peter Langston
Apr 23, 2016 Peter Langston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Kennedy has reached middle age, feels like his wife is drifting away from him and his kids see him as either a joke or an embarrassment. He stopped doing what he loved at work long ago, eats too much and is a man without direction.
That is, until he has to go back home for a work project.
Going home gives a chance recalibrate - not turn the clock back but rather to rediscover the influence his background should be having on him and to find the treasure of love.
In this quintessential Australi
Cathy Atkinson
Dec 30, 2012 Cathy Atkinson rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-read, book-club
I read this book over a period of time and was initially not liking it very much. By the end Peter and his crazy family had grown on me!! The message in the book is a powerful one yet a simple enough one. The fictitious Pickersgill was annoying; Redcliffe is a great destination - call it what its name!!!!

Andrea InCoorparoo
Oct 14, 2014 Andrea InCoorparoo rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian
I think that the charm of this book is its celebration of family love and an 'ordinary' life well-lived. What I liked best about the book was that it stimulated loads of memories about my own teenage years. I grew up in Cleveland, a place which is by the bay and has a showground, and is very similar to McInnes' Pickersgill, which is Redcliffe curiously renamed.
David Mitchell
Feb 05, 2013 David Mitchell rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book through my respect and admiration for William McInnes and it was more on this basis that I purchased this book. There were many elements, experiences and insights within this story that could've been mine. In parts I felt very raw - that this was personal. Peter's "there - but not really there" life on the perimeter of friends and family is definitely me.
Karen ⊰✿
Jun 12, 2013 Karen ⊰✿ rated it it was ok
I struggled with this book! The story is constantly diving into the past, then coming back into the present for a few sentences, then back down again. Makes it very confusing and hard to follow. I also found the use of Australian references and slang a bit smothering and then contradicted by the main character getting drive-through hot dogs at every opportunity...
Rowena Sierant
Apr 28, 2016 Rowena Sierant rated it liked it
It started off as a promising light hearted read. But I became so bogged down in reading about the main character, Peter's, flashbacks that the story lost its momentum. I don't think I liked the main character enough to care about his back story. However, McInnes is excellent at writing humour. I smiled often when reading this book!
Jan 23, 2013 Magoo rated it it was ok
I know I'm not the target audience for this book but still, just couldn't finish it. I got bored. Made it over half way but just couldn't engage with the protagonist. I get it, his life had stalled, but so did the plot for me. I'm sure you'll tell me the best was yet to come. Sorry. I wanted to like it.
Anne Hosking
Dec 21, 2014 Anne Hosking rated it really liked it
I loved reading this book , it was heartwarming and touching at times to the point of my being tearful . The family interrelationships rang true as did the lead character's " epiphany " . Macinnes has a very distinct written voice , which rings true .
Meredith Treloar
Jan 22, 2014 Meredith Treloar rated it really liked it
Another easy read by William McInnes with some laugh out loud moments but tears by the end. Enjoyed this one more than The Birdwatcher :-)
Aug 02, 2013 Wendy rated it liked it
A diverting, often deliberately Ocker tale of no great import that made me laugh and sometimes feel just a little wistful. A pleasant enough way to spend a rainy afternoon ...
Mar 23, 2013 Wilton314 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Although fictitious, the many references to real locations and events had me reminiscing. It was great.
Mar 12, 2013 Shane rated it liked it
Inoffensive and does enough to keep you mildly engaged. An easy read that will be forgotten soon enough.
Linda Tivendale
Jan 03, 2015 Linda Tivendale rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of William McInnes - I like his writing even more than his acting. I laughed out loud a lot, shed a few tears and was wanting so much for life to work out well for Peter.
Dec 27, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it
This book made me cry, but shouldn't I have found it cheesy? Very Australian, in the general laconic style of the author, but then it jumps up and bites you.
Dec 04, 2014 Liz rated it it was amazing
Loved the ride this book took me on. It was in turns tender, blokey, nostalgic and utterly Australian. So reminiscent of Australia in the 70s. Wonderful portrait of all the good in a family life.
Roxanne rated it really liked it
Mar 11, 2016
Chris Butt
Chris Butt rated it liked it
Mar 12, 2015
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Sep 04, 2014
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May 13, 2013
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Aug 22, 2013
Felicity O'Sullivan
Felicity O'Sullivan rated it liked it
Feb 03, 2016
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Guy Gor rated it liked it
Nov 06, 2012
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Mar 12, 2013
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William McInnes is one of Australia’s most popular stage and screen actors. His leading roles in Sea Change and Blue Heelers have made him a household name. The mini-series Shark Net and My Brother Jack earned him widespread critical acclaim. He has been nominated for numerous stage and screen awards, and has won a Variety Club Drama Award in 1997 and two Logie awards for Most Outstanding Actor in ...more
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