Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Grass Castle” as Want to Read:
The Grass Castle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Grass Castle

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
A moving and captivating story of displacement and belonging, love and forgiveness from the bestselling author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife.

The daughter of a pastoralist, Daphne grew up in a remote valley of the Brindabella Ranges where she raised her family with her husband, Doug, in a world of horses, cattle and stockmen. But then the government forced them off their land a
Paperback, 403 pages
Published February 1st 2014 by Allen & Unwin
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Abby Hunter is a struggling student who is studying kangaroos. Although her training may not pay very well Abby still loves tracking these beautiful big creatures. Just being able to watch them graze, sleep and interact with one another is more than enough for Abby. Having grown up on a farm in Victoria, Abby also loves being outdoors. She couldn't imagine being stuck in some stuffy office all day.

Cameron Barlow is a journalist and has been sent out to visit Abby to do an interview about the kan
Dale Harcombe
Nov 08, 2015 Dale Harcombe rated it liked it
Abby Hunter is a young woman who loves being outdoors on her own. She shies away from romantic relationships and is content studying the kangaroos, until Cameron Barlow, a journalist, comes to interview her and write about her work.
It is also the story of Daphne Norrington who raised her family in the high mountain country until she and her husband are forced off the land. When these women meet they strike up a friendship despite the disparity in their ages. Daphne reminds Abby of her Gran who
Abby Hunter was a struggling student, studying in Canberra and involved in research with kangaroos. Beautiful creatures, the grace and elegance of their movements captivated her continually. She loved working outside; having grown up on a farm in Victoria she had never wanted to work behind a desk. Now her training was taking her to places she loved, working with wild animals – the respect she had for the animals had her working closely with them, but keeping her distance; not invading their ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Rochelle rated it really liked it
I won this in the Goodreads first reads giveaway and would like to thank Goodreads and Allen and Unwin.

In the Grass Castle, Karen Viggers tells an epic story of love and loss and the strength it takes to keep on living after. It is a beautifully written tale that I enjoyed immensely. Karen really impressed me with her writing style and I loved the setting. I love novels set in Australia, but it’s even better when it’s a location that I actually have been too, or visited close by.

The Grass Castl
☼♄Jülie 

I recieved this book as an uncorrected proof from The Reading Room and Allen & Unwin.

I really wish I could say I enjoyed this book more than I did as I was really looking forward to reading it after noting several other reviews.

I don't mean to sound too critical as I thought the book was well researched and had lots of potential. I just found it very hard to get a feel for the actual story as it seemed to be wandering in several directions and then drifting off again into another area which
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

The Grass Castle is a quiet, introspective novel exploring the themes of displacement and belonging, grief and healing.

Abby Hunter is a struggling PhD student who prefers the isolation of her fieldwork in the Brindabella mountain ranges to the bustling activity of the university lab. Wary of relationships since her mothers death, she is content with the company of the Kangaroo's she is studying, but a chance meeting with elderly matriarch Daphne Norrington, and the gentle persistence of journali
Monique Mulligan
Apr 11, 2014 Monique Mulligan rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway - thank you!

Karen Viggers’ The Grass Castle explores a number of themes, including forgiveness, making peace with the past and redemption. Once I realised it was mostly set in the Australian Capital Territory (the Brindabella Ranges in particular), with some trips to the gorgeous High Country in Victoria, I was keen to get stuck into this book, because they are area I remember well (and miss). It’s always nice to read novels set somewhere close to y
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Night spreads its thick blanket over the valley. There is no moon, no light.’

Abby, a PhD student living in Canberra, is researching the movement and habitat of kangaroos. Hers is a fairly solitary existence: alone in the bush, tracking the animals, collecting the data she requires for her thesis. Daphne is an elderly woman, still very much attached to the land she once called home in the Brindabella Ranges. This land was reclaimed by the government and is now part of the Namadgi National Park.
Feb 06, 2015 Vivien rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-fiction
I read Karen's The Lightkeeper’s Wife, some time ago and so thoroughly this epic story. Then recently heard Karen's ABC radio interview about her new book, The Grass Castle and thought this is really well worth checking out especially as I discovered Karen lives in Canberra and The Grass Castle is set in and around Canberra and so do I!

The Grass Castle tells the story of Abby, a student scientist studying Kangaroos, and Daphne, an elderly lady with a love of the land especially the Brindabella m
Feb 06, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Thanks to Allen and Unwin for this First Reads copy of The Grass Castle!
I'm not normally a huge fan of stories about Australia, as they are often be full of stereotypes and things that people from other countries want to hear about this country. I'm also not usually a fan of present tense narration, but somehow The Grass Castle wove its magic and won me over. Viggers writes characters with life-sized dimensions, and watching them interact against the stunning backdrop of the Brindabella Ranges i
Mar 27, 2014 Mac rated it it was amazing
The characters and the country in this novel crept up on me. I thought I was reading a pretty standard novel then I realized how much I had seen these people, experienced them in friends and friend's families. I am probably biased living in Canberra and experiencing the wonder of the bush around here, the feeling not only of ancientness but of recent trials and tribulations of settlers. Viggers lays this out and it is that back ground that is the strength of the story , the feeling of place of ...more
Feb 01, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it
I won this in an Allen and Unwin giveaway. A free book is always a treat. Although I doubt that this book will win any awards, I nevertheless enjoyed it as a light holiday read. Fits well into the Chicklit genre. Set in the Brindabella ranges, around Canberra, it is a narrative about Abby, a struggling university student who is tracking kangaroos as research for her PhD, and Daphne, and elderly lady. Both are struggling with tragedies in their past. The story discusses some deep issues including ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Maxine rated it it was amazing
I found the characters completely believable. The situations that they found themselves in, are ones that we have all done ourselves before.

It was easy to read and I often found myself picturing where they were, as I was right there with them.

It was very refreshing to read about our Aussie outback, each page was like a painting in print.

I would recommend it to my friends :)
Susan Barnes
Nov 09, 2016 Susan Barnes rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
The Grass Castle by Karen Viggers is an enjoyable story set in an Australian context that I'm very familiar with. I liked reading about places that I know well. The book is quite descriptive in places which did slow the pace of the story and I did wonder whether this could have been handled better. However I found the story engaging so persisted through these passages.

Abby is a university student who meets Cameron an ambitious journalist through her research work on kangaroos. Daphne is an elder
Bree T
Feb 11, 2014 Bree T rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, australian, aww2014
Abby is a PhD student living in Canberra researching the movement and habitat of kangaroos. She lives a mostly isolated life in the bush tracking the animals and collecting the research she needs to write her thesis. A tragic event in Abby’s early teens has made her close herself off from the world. She lives away from her family and although she visits, they’re not exactly close. When she meets journalist Cameron, he tries to slip beneath the protective facade that Abby has constructed around ...more
Sam Still Reading
Feb 22, 2014 Sam Still Reading rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like dreamy, quiet stories
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: from publisher and TRR - thank you!
The Grass Castle is a big book, covering a lot of topics ranging from domestic violence, loneliness, mental illness, ageing, kangaroo culling, racism and family issues. It’s a big job to cover so much in one book. Not everything is covered in great detail, but that’s reflective of life in my opinion – we can’t be everything to everybody. With this softly paced, quiet novel, Viggers captures life from a distance in all its ups and downs.

The main character of The Grass Castle is Abby, a PhD studen
Sep 26, 2016 Gemma rated it liked it
A dreamlike quality to the writing, perhaps supported by the meandering storyline. A gently paced read.
Kerrie Paterson
May 18, 2016 Kerrie Paterson rated it really liked it
I really wanted to like this more than I was able to. There was some beautiful writing and great descriptions, and a great deal of research had obviously been done before writing. However, I found Abby hard to relate to at times, and enjoyed Daphne's story more than Abby's. I found it hard to get over my first impressions of Cameron where he is portrayed quite negatively. The story was often told more in flashbacks or unrelated anecdotes than a structured story which I found frustrating at ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Apr 28, 2014 Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
* 3.5 stars

An excellently researched novel, with vivid descriptions of flora and fauna in the Brindabella ranges in rural Australia. The themes of displacement, love, loss, loneliness and environment are explored through the viewpoints of Abby, a young student and Daphne, a widower. Although well written, I struggled to get through this book as it contained some confronting aspects of kangaroo culling and land rights.
Mar 17, 2014 Kay rated it liked it
The Grass Castle is a quiet, introspective novel exploring the themes of displacement and belonging, grief and healing. Overall I cannot say I really enjoyed it. There were chapters where I was enthralled and others where I was bored. The story line of Abby Cameron and Daphne is well written and some of the descriptions are very vivid.

Donna Nicoll
Jun 07, 2014 Donna Nicoll rated it really liked it
I love this woman's writing style. She has a beautiful way with words and descriptive phrases. The story was an enjoyable mix of past and present.
The character Abby was a little frustrating at times and felt like she needed to take a hold of her life.
Loved the bond between Daphne and Abby.
The ending was a little unsatisfying however and left all as an assumption not a definitive outcome.
May 22, 2014 Rosie rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. Karen Viggers has such a gift for getting to the heart of her characters and presenting them as such real and multifaceted people. She have a knack for creating such beautiful settings. The issues investigated are woven so expertly into the whole work.
Brian Sullivan
Jul 31, 2015 Brian Sullivan rated it it was amazing
A very beautiful book that charts the changes of two women, both effected by death, that balances sensitivity to the land, aboriginal land rights, farming, animal rights, and kangaroos and the ecology as a beautiful work f fiction.
Oct 26, 2016 Sandy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lorraine rated it liked it
Oct 29, 2015
Claire Sun
Claire Sun rated it liked it
May 21, 2014
Jessie rated it really liked it
Jul 14, 2015
Coupleth rated it really liked it
Dec 11, 2015
Tina rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2016
Sophie Constable
Sophie Constable rated it liked it
Nov 29, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Crimson Dawn
  • Nest
  • Time Will Tell
  • Simmering Season
  • The House At The End Of The Street (Swallows Fall, #5)
  • Close to Home
  • Cold Justice (Detective Ella Marconi, #3)
  • The Girl with the Dogs
  • Medea's Curse (Natalie King, Forensic Psychiatrist, #1)
  • Family Secrets
  • Shooting Butterflies
  • Can You Keep a Secret?
  • The Girl in the Yellow Vest
  • Cicada
  • Castle of Dreams
  • Mothers Grimm
  • What Matters Most
  • Salt Creek
Karen Viggers was born in Melbourne, Australia, and grew up in the Dandenong Ranges riding horses and writing stories. She studied Veterinary Science at Melbourne University, and then worked in mixed animal practice for seven years before completing a PhD at the Australian National University, Canberra, in wildlife health from which she published numerous scientific papers.

Since then she has worke
More about Karen Viggers...

Share This Book