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Lost Voices

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  40 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 - AU
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  177 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Lesley Moseley
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe 4 1/2 stars as I really enjoy this interesting, fast paced style of writing. I know a bit about the area it is set in, and it's beautifully described. The characters are also very well-drawn and their voices are feel very time related, authentic. GREAT WRITER.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarybooks

‘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
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australia
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
Carolyn Mck
Another novel from a favourite author – it didn’t capture my imagination as did his previous novels, particularly Highways to a War and The Memory Room but it kept my interest in the subject of Tasmanian convicts and bushrangers and in how people can rekindle interest in the past and in ‘lost voices’. Koch has a deft style and is able to uncover layers of memory and meaning.
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian, favorites
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
Jan 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating of particular interest for those interested in Australian history
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Austin
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this leisurely and at times gripping read. I'd just finished reading Truth and found Koch's prose to be the complete opposite style to Peter Temple's sparse, cryptic fast style. Both have merit, depends on what mood you are in I guess. I found it a little hard to to get into and the art and spiritual themes did not interest me greatly but the bushranger and cartoonist murderer stories were interesting and I enjoyed the fact they shed light on past eras in my town even though the plot a ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Plot within plot...but neither of them was strong enough. The final shift to " deep history" was jarring and inconsequential.
Some of the characterisations were certainly strong; but not enough was done with them.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I literally haven't read any CJ Koch since 'The year of living dangerously' was shoved down my throat for the HSC. I enjoyed the book for the most part but it really sped up the last 100 or so pages.
Book group read
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is about the coming of age and life of Hugh Dixon set in Hobart in the mid-20th century; and it is also about the coming of age of society on the magical island of Tasmania a hundred years earlier. Christopher Koch, considered by many during his lifetime to be one of Australia's greatest living writers, died in 2013 shortly before this last novel was published. Koch is probably best known as the author of The Year of Living Dangerously. He wrote other novels including Out of Ireland an ...more
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
Chris Johnson
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Christopher Koch is criminally under-appreciated outside of Australia. One of the truly great writers in the past 40 years, his work is almost unknown in America aside from The Year of Living Dangerously. And even that is largely appreciated as a film.

Highways to a War and Out of Ireland are Booker-quality. Perhaps Koch's passion for storytelling doomed him in the lit-crit crowd, but his novels work on multiple levels. When I first traveled to Australia I asked a friend to recommend a novel that
Paul Lockman
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I received the book as a Christmas present and hadn’t read anything by the author before despite him having won two Miles Franklin Awards.

I did like the book without raving about it. I enjoyed the middle section the most. I found the writing a little stiff, clinical perhaps, which made it hard for me to warm to and care about the characters in a meaningful way. In the third section I didn't see the point of relating the events as the elderly Hugh Dixon looking back some 50 years to his time as

Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lost Voices is Christopher Koch’s last novel. Setting the scene in Glenorchy, Tasmania and the nearby bushlands, he uses the most exquisite language to paint a vivid picture of suburban Hobart in the 1940s & 50s and the rugged bushranger country that was in its place one hundred years previously.

It tells two separate but similar stories of idealistic young men, their relationships with their respective mentor figures, and ultimately their transition into awareness of the darker side of human
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
i very much enjoyed this book, the first Christopher Koch (2x Miles Franklin winner) book i have read. Of course i knew his name and that he was a modern Australian writer but our paths had not crossed. Very engaging characters, a central conceit well executed, evocative descriptions, some nuances and characteristics nicely captured, well constructed + plotted. Very much the product of a polished writer. Why this book did not get more commercial support in 2013 (when shortlisted for the Prime Mi ...more
Sophie Masson
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Robyn Gibson
Set in Tasmania, Hugh's father lost a bet and his life would have changed for the worse so Hugh went to his great uncle, whom he'd never met to ask for money. The uncle takes a liking to Hugh and asks him to meet every Sunday. They talk about literature, art and the story of Uncle's own father who spent time with bushrangers in 1854. No punctuation in this book! That bit I cannot understand! Christopher Koch is a wonderful storyteller it's no wonder this book is hard to put down.
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mother and husband liked this one more than I did. I enjoyed the fact that the book was set in Hobart, Moonah and Glenorchy in the 1950s and at the back of Mt Wellington in the times of the convicts and bushrangers. I wasn't as interested in the ideological ideas presented in the book and didn't really enjoy reading about the poor treatment of women. I'd like to try some of Christopher Koch's other books.
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.
Julie Cohen
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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!
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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
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