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The Hunter

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  939 ratings  ·  129 reviews
An unnamed man arrives in a small community with only one purpose in mind: hunting the Tasmanian tiger. The Thylacine, creature of fable and fear, is thought still to be found out there in the wilderness, and this man must find it. In richly crafted prose, first-time novelist Julia Leigh creates an unforgettable picture of a damp, dangerous landscape and a man obsessed by ...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published 2001 by Faber and Faber (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  939 ratings  ·  129 reviews


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Marchpane
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
Short but gripping, The Hunter is an existential Tasmanian gothic with a twinge of eco-noir and plenty of ‘modern classic’ vibes.

The premise is simple enough: an enigmatic, taciturn loner known as ‘M’ stalks a thylacine—believed to be the last of its kind—through the Tasmanian wilds at the behest of shadowy, nefarious corporate backers. It may sound like a standard ‘man vs beast’ story but it is so much more complex and affecting than that. This is not an action thriller, it is a minimalistic, n
...more
fourtriplezed
I once had the pleasant experience of working in a fly in fly out basis into the beautiful island state of Tasmania. As is my want I used to haunt the bookshops, mostly 2nd hand, when I was able. With that I picked up this novel about a hunter looking for the last existing Tasmanian Tiger, or thylacine as it is also known. Apparently this is a novel of a sub-genre called Tasmanian Gothic, or at least that is what the book seller told me. This read is in a dark descriptive style with the fear and ...more
Michael
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian, 1990s
Under an assumed identity of Martin David, Naturalist, M arrives to hunt down the last Tasmanian tiger rumoured to exist within Tasmania. On the edge of the wilderness, he will soon slip into an untouched world of silence and stillness. Hunting the last thylacine, an animal extinct since the 1930’s, but a sighting has been reported.

Julia Leigh, born in 1970 in Sydney, Australia, has received critical acclaim even though she has had a very small writing career so far. The Hunter in 1999; a novell
...more
Laura
From IMDb:
Martin, a mercenary, is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger.
Calzean
A quite depressing read.
M is a hunter paid by some third party to find, kill and bring back the body of a Tasmanian Tiger, an animal believed to be extinct.
M is an ex-soldier and mercenary. His experiences have left him emotionless so he approaches his task methodically and obsessively. He cares nothing about the why it's all about the how.
This lack of emotion also plays out with the family he lives with between his hunting tramps. The father has died in the bush, leaving the mother dependent o
...more
Tam
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
So incredibly beautifully written that I couldn't put it down despite the sometimes grim and gruesome content. The explorations of nature and being at one-ness with it are extraordinary.
It is amazing to me that this is someone's first novel.

Later note: I can't stop thinking about this novel. It's depth continues to growing post reading. Amazing. It is a beautifully written antithesis of ecofeminism. I'll be referring to this book and it's metaphoric statements about neoliberal patriarchal system
...more
Erica
Jul 28, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
I can't even imagine how a movie was made from this. Ugh. I can't believe I paid for the BOOK, there is no way I will waste more time on the MOVIE.
Shawn Davies
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sparse yet beautiful book about a hunt for the now mythical Tasmanian Tiger, but really a meditation on loss, responsibility and the life that is missed when we focus only on our goals.

With wonderfully descriptive, but yet brief and almost workmanlike language, Julia Leigh conjures up the gnarly and rough country of Tasmania’s uplands and one man’s professional and entirely focused dedication on finding in this misty and dense country an example of the supposedly extinct Thylacine.

Patience, f
...more
Emma
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Of course I am attracted to any book about the mysterious thylacine and any book set in the equally mysterious wilderness of Tasmania.

I first read this book when I was in high school and have just reread it now that it's be made into a movie, which I will be interested to see.


This book is probably not for everyone. I wouldn't have thought it was for me, given the title. I can't explain exactly why I like this book. I don't find the main character, M, at all appealing. His mission appalls me and
...more
Kae Cheatham
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
A fascinating book. Told in third person, present tense, Leigh's protagonist, M (only name given), is a purveyor of exotics and is sent to Tasmania to harvest a rare and elusive species. His journey brings into his life three people he doesn't want to care for, but does; when they are rudely taken from him, he becomes even more absorbed in his goal. A glimpse into the enigmatic M is both touching and chilling. The Tasmanian landscape is as beautiful and ruthless as the protagonist.

I had read a l
...more
wanda
Aug 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
did not keep my interest. did not get to page 40. did not finish.
Horace Derwent
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humans, WHY?
Kate Mcphail
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Quite deadful
Declan Melia
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
(*Tentatively) This was...OK. I'm hovering between a two and a three. We have a fellow named M who has assumed the identity of Martin David, (naturalist) and enters the Tasmanian wilderness to find the final surviving Thylacine. Once he finds it, he's going to kill it. This is not your typical hunter though, the purpose of his hunt is not bloodlust or thrill, it's something much more noble, something much more subtle.

Because of the nature of the storyline (that's a pun by the way) this book emi
...more
Harry Antony
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ellyn   → Allonsythornraxx
25/04/2019

I read this for school and it took me over a month to read it, if that tells you anything about how much I appreciated having this on my reading list. This wasn't terrible but I'm sure as shit glad it's over.
Melissa Goodnight
Aug 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lr-bookcase, own
I was so glad to be finished with this book. The writing style is crude, the main character is completely unlikeable. I thought it had to be written by a man, but now I assume the author just imagined the most insufferable man she could think of and wrote him up. I have no idea why this has so many glowing reviews but I hated it from beginning to end, and if it wasn’t so short, I wouldn’t have bothered to finish it.
L.G. Cullens
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the book the 2011 movie of the same name was based on.

An ecocentric story, it contemplates the nature of mankind, wild animals and the wilderness. The writer doesn't 'develop' the main character as many stories do, but pulls you into his feelings, and detachment from the human world.

The subsequent movie and the book are very different, with different endings.
Seth
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm a thylacine fanatic. That's the only reason I read the book. The author could have gone through the trouble of consulting a biologist before publishing. Or even reading an introductory book about the thylacine. There are some real massive thylacine errors in here that made me want to throw the book at the wall and vomit on my other wall covered with a thylacine mural.

(spoiler alert).


Page 166 (of the American first edition) "he pulls out the uterus- intact- a plump slimy thing." Thylacines
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Tien
M. (aka David Martin, for this trip at least) is being sent on a hunt of a nearly extinct, borderline mythical, creature, the thylacine (a Tasmanian tiger). He is, above all things, a hunter. M is solitary, efficient, and ruthless; lacking the social skills to interact with his kind with ease. This is the man of whose mind we inhabit in reading this book.

As the book is being told from the perspective of M, in fact, we are privy to his thoughts whether it runs to his awkwardness is social situati
...more
Christopher Rex
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
For once, the Goodreads 2-star descriptor is spot-on...."it was OK." Nothing about this book really jumped out at me and got me involved. It just sort of trotted along and then came to a conclusion. The End. The good thing about it was that it was only 170pp. Had the author dragged it out further, it would've been outright boring without some significant changes. I doubt I could've tolerated 300pp. given the style, methodology and storytelling that was utilized here.

The story tells the tale of "
...more
Her Royal Orangeness
In “The Hunter” by Julia Leigh, a man goes into the wilderness to hunt the elusive Tasmanian tiger, the thylacine. Doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? I only picked up this book for two reasons: it was longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2000, and I could use the location for a global reading challenge. I was quite surprised at how very good this book is.

The writing style is impeccable and I was completely mesmerized. Even when Leigh is just describing a plant or detailing the traps the man
...more
Lucy Carlos
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Julia Leigh’s The Hunter (1999), an environmentally centred novel, showcases Martin David’s, or M’s, tracking of the last remaining Thylacine in the Tasmanian wilderness in order to harvest its genetic material (Hughes-d'Aeth 2006, p.19). In an attempt to understand the animal’s psyche, M immerses himself in the environment of the Tasmanian highlands, embracing his animalistic instincts, therefore isolating himself from his own humanity.

The Hunter by Julia Leigh, is a novel which is follows the
...more
Susan
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Susan by: Friend sent me a copy
The book was always going to be a personal journey for me as I lived in Tassie about 40 years ago and had travelled into the south west frequently enjoying its beauty and wildness and its fragility. Coloured slightly by having seen the film which I consider to be an excellent glimpse into the world of the logger and farmer in that region I still found the written book an excellent literal journey into the sad indictment of the human condition in this miniaturised microcosm. Greed murder lack of ...more
Charles Jr.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I HAD to read this after seeing the moody movie adaptation with Willem Dafoe. Wow, book is even more uncompromising and grim, as the nameless antihero, a ruthless corporate mercenary, stalks the last remainder of a supposedly extinct carnivore in the remote forests of Tasmania. The filmmakers amped up the violence, intrigue and sense that the hunter will redeem himself with a small act of defiance, but author Leigh has a more nuanced, sanguine outlook. A short and bracing bit of literary fiction ...more
George K. Ilsley
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, novella
A slim, taut volume which creates some resonance, but is constrained by its smallness. Perhaps it is meant to be a metaphor for rapacious corporate greed. At least that explains how the action leads to a regrettable action. Otherwise, it is well-written, etc., but the author tries to achieve more by telling less. Ultimately, I was disappointed.
Zarina
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Slightly better than Julia Leigh's "Disquiet" so I'll give it 2.5 stars. Still extremely overrated though.
Andrea Paterson
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Reminded me of the Blue Fox by Sjon. Similar atmosphere.
Soph
Mar 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
I didn't enjoy this book at all. I personally found it too crude and it lacked a proper ending which was disappointing.
Patrick Ullmer
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
A dull, depressing piece of work. Watch the 2011 film over this trash.
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Julia Leigh (b. 1970) is an Australian novelist, film director and screenwriter.

Born in 1970 in Sydney, Australia,[ Leigh is the eldest of three daughters of a doctor and maths teacher. She initially studied law but shifted to writing. For a time she worked at the Australian Society of Authors. Her mentors included leading authors Frank Moorhouse and Toni Morrison.

Leigh is the author of the novels
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“Dark here comes quickly. He undresses and slips into his silky cold sleeping bag. Up above, the clouds mask the stars and the moon alone glows like a strange pearl. Somewhere, he thinks, cherishing his last thought before sleep, somewhere, out there, the last tiger stands with her back to the rising wind and slowly shakes herself awake.” 1 likes
“Do tigers dream? he wonders. And this tiger, reputedly the last of her kind, what does she dream of? The scent of a mate? Or does she have the same dream he has or, at least, the only dream that he ever remembers: the running dream, where he is being chased for hours by an unknown foe, where he has to hide in bushes and hold his breath, where the bushes transmogrify and he is forced to run again, where he can't run quickly enough and where, finally, he knows he will be caught and that capture means a blank death, but where - dreams being what they are - the threat of capture dissolves and disappears at the very last moment so that, still sleeping, he knows he has survived and the running dream is over.” 0 likes
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