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The Fine Color of Rust

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Set in the Australian outback, a wryly funny, beautifully observed novel about friendship, motherhood, love, and the importance of fighting for things that matter.

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 s
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Washington Square Press (first published February 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
...more
Susan (aka Just My Op)
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 Schneider


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.
Jane Connor
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the Australian bush, a wryly funny, beautifully observed novel about friendship, motherhood, love, and the importance of fighting for things that matter.USA cover

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 had no idea her best friend would turn out to be the crusty old junk man. All in all, she’s starting to wonder if she took a wr
...more
Linda
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me laugh out loud. It’s funny but not in a vacuous cliched way. It’s also endearing and touching. The narrator is Loretta, a sassy single mother and champion of the good cause, fighting corrupt local Government and trying to save her kid’s school from closure. Loretta is trying to make ends meet after her hopeless ex-husband ditches town and dodges parental responsibility. I loved the characters, every small town knows someone straight out of this book. I’m still cheering for Lore ...more
Star Ryan
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I much anticipated reading this book after reading the Wonders by Paddy O'Reilly. It took me a while to track it down but Im glad I did. I enjoyed the writing family/relational issues especially. The plot involving saving the school and the proposed resort in the small town could have used a bit of polishing. You can tell this is an earlier writing as opposed to the Wonders which is one of the my favorite books. However the humor and compassion was inexplicably charming.
Mark
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quirky (perhaps even quaint) story set in small town rural Australia that creates and presents warm, funny and colourful characters dealing with "not so fictional" problems and events. At it's heart is a story of motherhood, friendship and community that touches the unique Australian sense of warmth and humour.
I really liked it and hope the author has a few more books about Loretta Boskovic and Gunapan in her.
janetandjohn
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mmmm - it says if you liked "tractors - Ukraine" you will love this one. I hated the thing! But I thoroughly enjoyed this little love song to an Australian working class heroine. Well observed characters, a good story, and a quick read.
Vivian
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This novel started as a bit of fun but the central character became more unlikeable as it went on. She was actually s a bully - a trait she identified in others but could not see in herself. In the end I couldn’t care what happened to her.
Bev May
I enjoyed this as an audio book. The narrator was excellent and the story was well told.
Kylie Wagstaff
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, book-club-2019
I just really enjoyed this book, good yarn. Cup holders are the first thing I look at in a new car too!
Lindie
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I don't usually read girly books so this one was not a happy experience for me. if you want something like to read I guess you can read this but I wouldn't waste my time
Dominique
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's unexpected and slow paced but it's just what you need
Judy
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet story about friendships, the type who become family.
Pam Asberry
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mandy
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nancy McKibben
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Lisa Walker
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘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
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
Lydia Laceby
Jul 10, 2013 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
Pete Loveday
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Paddy O'Reilly is a writer from Victoria, Australia. Her work has been published and broadcast widely both in Australia and internationally.

Paddy's short story collection, The End of the World (University of Queensland Press) was released to critical acclaim in April, 2007. The stories in the collection have won a number of national and international story awards including 'The Age', the 'Judah Wa
...more

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