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Lost Voices

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Twice winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Christopher Koch returns with a remarkable novel of gripping narrative power.

Young Hugh Dixon believes he can save his father from ruin if he asks his estranged great-uncle Walter - a wealthy lawyer who lives alone in a Tasmanian farmhouse passed down through the family - for help. As he is drawn into Walter′s rarefied world, Hugh
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Lost Voices is the seventh novel by Australian author, Christopher Koch. When Jim Dixon makes a serious error of judgement that could affect the whole family, his son, Hugh secretly goes to Walter Dixon, the great-uncle he has never met, to ask for help. He gets quite a bit more than he bargained for. As well as providing aid, his great-uncle becomes a source of inspiration, a patron and the revealer of a fascinating piece of family history: the story of Walter’s father, Martin Dixon’s involveme ...more
I read this book in 36 hours. Could not put it down. To say I'm a fan of Koch's is an understatement. The Double Man, Year of Living Dangerously, Highways to a War, and Out of Ireland are three of my favourite books. His last novel The Memory Room didn't impress me as much however. But this one is back to his compelling best. Such a wonderful story tellers. Characters are never flat although sometimes verging on caricatures. He does telegraph his punches a bit with his depictions of "baddies". H ...more
Christopher Koch is brilliant at exploring charismatic personalities. This is territory that he has covered in a number of his books, including The Memory Room which I reviewed on this blog back in 2009. In that book, even though the character Vincent is a nerd, he is able to attract friends, and more importantly, loyalty. Here in Lost Voices Koch shows us the lure of the charismatic leader, and the effect he has on men in search of a mentor. It’s superbly well done.

The choice of narrative persp
Jennifer (JC-S)

‘Late in life, I’ve come to the view that everything in our lives is part of a pre-ordained pattern.’

This novel is organised as three books: the first and third are the fictional memoir of Hugh Dixon in the 1950s, the second looks back a century earlier to a part of the life of Hugh's great-grandfather Martin Dixon. The two are connected by Hugh's great-uncle Walter, and elderly lawyer living alone at Leyburn Farm, owned by the Dixon family since colonial times and now being encroached upon by t
I loved this novel. Koch's prose is remarkably beautiful, especially his descriptions of the Tasmanian wilderness. A wonderfully constructed story of family history and the lessons learned and not learned from generations within.
Joanne Dwyer
Odd read really. One section I liked the rest I could have done without. Perhaps just telling one good story rather than three would have been better. Giving it one star because I can't get a handle on rating it. Too perplexing.
Opening lines: ‘…Late in life, I’ve come to the view that everything in our lives is part of a pre-ordained pattern. Unfortunately it’s a pattern to which we’re not given a key…’

The biggest problem I had with LOST VOICES was the punctuation. When the characters speak to each other there was no punctuation to indicate they were speaking; and it drove me to distraction! I guess as an award winning literary figure such as the late Mr Koch should know more about writing than me – but he obviously ch
Fascinating of particular interest for those interested in Australian history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This seemed to be two books in one, with a few lose threads connecting the two.

The narrator is looking back at his life in Hobart, first as a child and then as a young man and an aspiring painter. He meets his great uncle who relates the family story that connected his father with bushrangers.

The story of the bushrangers could have been a novella, well written with descriptions of life in the 1850s, and of the hills and valleys around Hobart. This was where the book was most interesting.

There w
Sophie Masson
A gripping, lyrical, elusive and disturbing novel, Lost Voices plays with time, transporting us back not only to narrator Hugh Dixon's own youth in the 1940's and 50's but also into the 19th century and the lost world of bushrangers and utopian ideas. Filled with the beauty and strangeness of the Tasmanian landscape as well as the strange and unusual fates of the vivid characters who populate it, as well as by a tantalising sense of the metaphysical, Lost Voices is an extraordinary novel by one ...more
Alison Dellit
I enjoyed this far more than expected. It is an excellent book for reading in Hobart; Koch's book as much a medidation on what changes in place and what doesn't as it is courtroom drama and bushranger tale. There is much I could criticise - the morality is simply drawn between goodies and baddies,the women amenable and the men are strong. But found myself driving to Collinsvale to get closer to our noble utopian band, gripped in the world kohl describes. His class relations, his penal colony tha ...more
I generally love Christopher Koch's writing but was a bit soap pointed with this especially the bushranger ration. Its set in Tasmania and flips in time from one century to another which is good. Koch paints brilliant word pictures and is very a good at difference in time sequences but he fails with Hugh, the narrator, who comes across well as a young man but in real time is a bit deadened. Lovely images of Hobart and the cruel life of the lucky prisoner who escaped from Port Arthur
Terrific read - it's really 3 stories in 1 - characters connected by family. It was a Book Club read - and offers several topics to think about. A very readable author!
Julie Marr
I read this so long ago that I've forgotten the detail, which might say something in itself. I do remember finding one thread of the story far more compelling than the other two, and in the end was a bit underwhelmed by it. However, the writing and descriptions of Tasmania were evocative and made me glad I had recently been there.
Wellington City Libraries
Interesting rather than exciting. I chose it because of my positive recollection of the 'Year of Living Dangerously'. Koch also has significant prize recognition. Located between the 19-1950s in Tasmania, the book is descriptive and reflective, curtained by the generality of the writing rather than the attraction of the narrative.
Fabulous writing and I really enjoyed reading about some of the history of Tasmania. Knowing that Christopher Koch has died in September , the passing of Uncle Walter was quite poignant.
Sarah Gosper
Interesting. Fabulous style. Two separate plots which are loosely connected. Theme uncertain and lacks impact but still worth the read.
Sue Gould
The first I've read of this author. Well written, and easy to read. I enjoyed both the historic and geographic Tasmanian backdrop.
Shirley Evans
Very well written nostalgic story of the 1930s. But I found the bushranger section pretty far fetched
Ian Perkins
Evocative writing and an interesting storyline.
Library Book, borrowed.
Loved this book!
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Christopher Koch was born and educated in Tasmania. For a good deal of his life he was a broadcasting producer, working for the ABC in Sydney. He has lived and worked in London and elsewhere overseas. He has been a fulltime writer since 1972, winning international praise and a number of awards for his novels, many of which are translated in a number of European countries. One of his novels, The YE ...more
More about Christopher J. Koch...
The Year of Living Dangerously Highways to a War Out of Ireland The Memory Room The Doubleman

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