Coal Creek
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Coal Creek

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  158 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The new novel from Australia's highly acclaimed literary treasure is an extraordinarily powerful exploration of tragedy, betrayal, the true nature of friendship and the beauty of lasting love.

'Me and Ben had been mates since we was boys and if it come to it I knew I would have to be on his side.'

Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his bo...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Allen & Unwin
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Coal Creek an Interesting Story

I always panic when I receive a book that has been endorsed by various literary publications because we all know the amount of verbiage the London Literary idiots can spout in one review article. Having read Barracuda earlier this year being a case in point to the London Literary knobs were spouting about it like the emperor’s new clothes. So you can imagine my surprise to be presented with another book based in Australia the colour drained from my face with the po...more
Steve lovell
As another drought starts to bite across the Outback vast herds of cattle are being shifted out of those areas affected to better pasture further south. Most of the owners of the mega-acred properties, many bigger than European countries, now use the thundering automotive road trains to get their beasts from A to B. Others see the advantage of using the tried and true method of the cattle barons of the days of yore, the Duracks and Kidmans et al – the 'long paddock'. Currently eighteen thousand...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘It was such a familiar music I believe we stopped hearing it.’

Central Queensland in the late 1940s provides the setting for Coal Creek. Robert Blewitt, known as Bobby Blue, is the hero of this novel and its narrator. Bobby has worked with his father mustering bullocks, but when Bobby is almost 21 his father dies and he looks for new work. Bobby approaches Daniel Collins the new local constable at Mount Hay, and becomes his offsider. Bobby lives in the fibro two man quarters at the back of the p...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

"The way I saw it was that Daniel and Esme never thought too much about how it was going to be for them coming in to police a town like Mount Hay from the outside the way they did." p13

Told in the first person, Coal Creek begins in the late 1940's and is the story of twenty year old 'Bobby Blue', born and raised in the back country of the Queensland Highlands. In need of a way to make a living after the death of his father, Bobby gets a job with the the new police sergeant of Mount Hay, Daniel C...more
Rob Carseldine
It could be called The Ballad of Bobby Blue. A first person narrative of what happened when poorly educated but bush-wise country boy and orphan Bobby takes a job as the police assistant at a remote north-Queensland town. And how it all went to hell due to the inability of the policeman and (particularly) his wife from the coast to understand the ways of the locals.
This is not Alex Miller's best work by a considerable margin. Autumn Laing and Journey to the Stone Country are so much better. It...more
Ashley Hay
I had the great pleasure and privilege of talking with Alex Miller about his new book, "Coal Creek", at the Brisbane Writers' Festival last Sunday - I relished this book, and read it in a gulping and compelled kind of way.

As I said in the session on Sunday, "It’s a tightly wound story – everything in it is essential. Set in the Queensland highlands in 1946 or 47, as its narrator, Bobby Blue, puts it, its evocations of place and people deliver both exquisite clarity and something terribly inexor...more
Coal Creek is a slow, meandering, exquisitely written book about friendship, loyalty, misunderstandings, distrust and devastating consequences. It is full of wonderful descriptions of the landscape of outback Queensland and the animals that inhabit it. Bobby Blue, the central character, through whose eyes the story is told is sure to become one of the most memorable and loved characters in Australian literature and Coal Creek an Australian classic.
A really lovely book with a wonderful array of...more
Gill Chedgey
Alex Miller Coal Creek

I am not one to judge a book by its cover. In most cases I don’t even notice the cover, as I’m too eager to see what’s inside. But for some reason I did look at the cover of this novel sent to me by Real Readers and immediately Brokeback Mountain came into my head, the short story not the film. And whilst I am not offering a comparison between this writer and Annie Proulx there was a similar ambience cast throughout as I read this.

I enjoyed it very much. I found it a well-c...more
Poppy Gee
Easily one of the best books I've ever read. On one level Coal Creek is a gripping, page-turningly good literary interpretation of a Western - police search the unforgiving Australian bush for an alleged criminal. But it is so much more than this - it's about our relationship with the wilderness; the complicated and various ways people love each other; revenge; loyalty; familial bonds. I've been thinking a lot lately about Australian literature and Aust art's fascination with the theme of people...more
Banafsheh Serov
Another short- listed title from 2014 Indie Booksellers' Award. Beautifully crafted, quiet & regal, Coal Creek reads like a sad lullaby.

The hero of the novel is Bobby Blue, a recently orphaned 20 year old stockman who having spent his life in the bush, decides to take the job with the new constable, Daniel Collins.
Arriving from the coast, Daniel, a veteran of a WWII POW camp, and his wife, Esra, though well-meaning are unfamiliar with their new surroundings and are viewed suspiciously by t...more
Kathleen Dixon
I started reading this off the shelf at the bookshop where we keep books that have come gratis from the publisher (in the hope, obviously, that we will read them and then order some copies to sell). Because it didn't grab me, I wasn't too bothered about how long I took to read it and I'd left it for several weeks while I read other more pressing titles. I went back to the shelf today only to find it had disappeared. This is good, because it means that one of the others on the staff (yes, that so...more
Coal Creek is set in the Australian outback in the 1940’s. it is the story of Bobby Blue, an uneducated young man who has always worked with his father as a cattle farmer. Daniel Collins arrives from the coast as the town’s new policeman with his wife and daughters and Bobby becomes his assistant. Bobby starts interacting with the Collins family and begins to learn to read and write. Collins has no understanding of the outback and its way of life and causes rivalries and tensions amongst the inh...more
This was an incredible read!

A singularly haunting Australian cowboy story. But if you like your action-packed westerns, lots of galloping around and adventure, this isn't the book for you.

There's not much plot in this book - the story is very very simple - Bobby Blue, one-time csttle ranger, joins the police force, and lives with the family of the new Constable Daniel Collins, fresh in from the coast, with his family and no clue about life in the bush.

Bobby's friend Ben is living with a young ab...more
In a small Australian outback town just after World War II, Bobby Blue leaves his job on a cattle station to work for the area’s new policeman. The tight-knit community sees the incoming Constable Collins as strange, while Collins himself does not understand the land, the locals or the native people who have their own ways. Conflict is inevitable, but when it comes many lives will be irreparably changed.

I’d never heard of Alex Miller before I received a copy of Coal Creek from Real Readers, but...more
Carolyn Saunders
Coal Creek

Interior Monologue
This book is set in Australia far from the big cities and features a country-born and bred Bobby Blue who narrates the whole novel. He reminisces about his youth and family, and growing up with his mate Ben Tobin, while working for an uptight coastal policeman and his overbearing wife. He rambles through the development of his love for their elder daughter, Irie, whilst relating the problematic relationships of his boss with Ben and the other locals. The energy of the...more
Before this novel landed on my door mat from Real Readers I had not heard of Alex Miller.
Born in Britain, he moved to Australia when he was 17. It appears this has a major influence on his writing.

I loved this book and the story line is basically set in Queensland outback during the 1940s. The author sets the scene as a harsh life and time. It is a real cowboy story. The descriptions of the Australian bush and people are beautifully written.

The author writes the story a Bobby Blue who gives an...more
Before receiving this novel for review, Alex Miller was something of an unknown entity to me. Born in the UK, he moved to Australia at the age of 17, a country which, judging by the evidence of his previous novels, has greatly informed his life and his writing.
Coal Creek is no exception. Set in the late 1940’s and exclusively located in the remote scrublands of Queensland and the small outlying areas of Coal Creek and Mount Hay the novel sets out as a love letter to the history, geography and Ab...more
Carolyn Mck
This story is set in the Queensland outback that Miller has described so well in Landscape of Farewell and Journey to the Stone Country. The narrator is Bobby Blue (Blewitt), an unschooled man wise in the ways of the stony escarpments and scrublands which are his home. We know the story is a tragedy – Bobby tells us so from the beginning – but the unfolding of the story is spell-binding. The characters of a newly arrived police officer and his wife – keen to enforce the law and improve the commu...more
Michael Dalton
I really enjoyed Coal Creek, although I found Irie to be drawn a little too old beyond her years ( in fact I wondered a bit about all the female characters), but that apart I loved it. Bobby Blue's 'voice' I thought was perfect and gave a great sense of character; the formality of the young man seeking to be very clear and accurate, mixed with the biblical overtones of his mother's speech, and the bush argot. Similarly the depiction of the bush and its creatures gave a terrific sense of place wh...more
Paul Kenny
First Alex Miller book that I've read. Highly recommended.
Teriffic story, beautiful, dreamy, sad, tragic. The lump in my throat caught me a bit off guard on the crowded train on my way home from work !
A reminder to 'blow-ins' to please don't try to fix something that isn't broken.
Beautifully written, as is Miller's usual style. The voice of Bobby Blue is strong and distinctive. Set in a bush town in the Queensland hinterland in the years after the second world war, the book follows Bobby as he gives up the life he and his father shared working in the bush with horses and cattle after his father's death. Taking up a role assisting the new policeman, he is a keen observer and but reluctant to put forward an opinion to his boss unless asked. Right from the start we know the...more
Linda Rollins
A young man works in the Australian outback of Queensland as the town constable’s side-kick. His loyalties and friendships are tested as danger looms ever closer until tragedy strikes suddenly.

The story is beautifully written but is very slow to get going. The continuous monologue is hard work and some may find it quite tedious. It isn’t until around two thirds of the way through that the story really kicks off but it is definitely worth the wait, as it develops into something extraordinarily em...more
Glenda Worth
Coal Creek - Alex Miller - An unusual read for me but I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of the outback and the hardships endured there. Bobby Blue leaves the cattle station after his father dies and becomes a police constable's offside. The constable and his family are new to the outback and do not understand the inhabitants ways. Bobby is torn between the constable's way and that of his fellow countrymen. When tragedy strikes at Coal Creek life will never be the same again. This is a great...more
Jo Dugan

Repetitive, predictable and poorly written. A real let down.
Jacqui Lademann
Another classic from a Australian literary genius
Jacquie South
I didn't start this with high hopes - having abandoned Autumn Laing (one of the few books I have ever not made it all the way through). Let's say I was pleasantly surprised. This book had me right from the start. The contrast of the slow and meandering style of storytelling by the narrator and the tension it created was very clever. The pictures Miller paints are so vivid the book is effortless to read. I wanted to take the characters and shout at them and shake them ... But could only read on a...more
Excellent! This story is about a family new to outback Australia and the repercussions that eventuate through misunderstanding the ways of the people who are native to the area. It is a haunting story and narrated by a young man who was born and raised in the area. The language used adds to the authenticity of the story and gives the reader a real understanding of the culture and the people who live and work in these remote communities.

The "new" family consists of a father who, after serving in...more
I've just finished reading Benediction by Kent Haruf and found a resonance between the two books - Miller creates a vital voice for his main character, Bobby Blue, with the same kind of thoughtful attentiveness to the rugged country and people around him that Haruf gives us in his novels. We are given a rare access to this man and understand his reticence even as it makes us worried, frustrated, distressed, anguished for the difficulties he encounters. Wonderful writing.
Sarah Farmer-wright
I'm sorry and very disappointed to say that I did not like this book at all. Disappointed because, before I read it, I could see that it had so many 5 star ratings and reviews - it just did not match up to my rating driven expectations.
The whole narrative is that of Bobby Blue and is told in a long winded and rambling style to mimic Bobby Blue's lack of education. The constant use of short sentences made it difficult, and annoying, to read.
I didn't enjoy it and won't be recommending it - sorry....more
The story grips you with it's beautiful descriptions of the country and its people, told in the first person by a 20 year old young man brought up to love the ways of the bush. Outsiders, not understanding these ways, cause misunderstandings and a terrible injustice that leaves you just reeling. Brilliant writing!
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Alex Miller is one of Australia's best-loved writers, and winner of the Melbourne Prize for Literature 2012.

Alex Miller is twice winner of Australia's premier literary prize, The Miles Franklin Literary Award, first in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. He is also an overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, in 1993 for The Ancestor Game. His fi...more
More about Alex Miller...
Lovesong Journey To The Stone Country Autumn Laing Conditions of Faith Landscape of Farewell

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