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Scoundrel Days: A Memoir

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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In Scoundrel Days Brentley Frazer tells the story of his youth – wild, disillusioned, impassioned and desolate. Born into a Christian cult in outback Queensland, Frazer escapes through literature and poetry, drugs and violence, sex and alcohol; and his ensuing rejection of religion, authority and the 'way things are' leads to adventures, desperation and, just possibly, red ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by University of Queensland Press
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Paltia
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A memoir of a young man who lives in the moment and acknowledges his behaviour with the title. He’s controlled by his hormones, a relentless drive to rebel against his parent’s attempts to impose their religious beliefs on him, and the endless search for an elixir to provide the ideal altered state of consciousness. There’s a beauty and fluid motion to his writing that kept me reading. I could imagine him smiling a welcome along the way. Did I recognize him? I certainly did. The mud brown eyes h ...more
Maru Kun
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book written entirely in E-prime. Pretty interesting. ...more
Keen
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it

“The galahs sound like your neighbour falling down the stairs forever, with an entire crockery set filled with boiling water.”

Frazer has a beautiful way with words. At times the language almost sings and you can almost smell the ghost gums and taste the stifling heat of tropical Queensland. Without doubt Frazer’s brash experiences and dubious approach to the law and fidelity will rile many, his behaviour is routinely selfish and destructive, harming countless others on his rampant journey of sel
...more
Ruby
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Far out. What a crazy tale. I really hope that the happy ending continued on for Brentley. He wasn't kidding with the title. What a scoundrel.
Carolyn McCosker
A fast and gripping read that will keep you glued to the page from beginning to end. At times confronting, always absorbing, the story charts the coming of age of a young man in Queensland in the days of Bjelke-Peterson. The story is remarkable for the insights it offers into the quest of a youth with the soul of a poet who grapples with the so-called truths of his elders, community and society. It is also fascinating for the vignettes it provides into outback Queensland with all its rawness and ...more
Jimmy Jones
Apr 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm in two minds about this book. It was great in parts. I get the feeling he has a much better book in him. As a memoir it's a fun easy read with delusions of grandeur. The tales of hedonistic partying wear a bit thin by the end while his attempts at deeper insight seem forced and sort of clever without depth like a Holden Caulfield or (Good) Will Hunting
Beatmania
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most astounding aspects of this memoir is the writers use of E-Prime (won't go into what e-prime is here, google it). It is an amazing feat. The story runs along barely giving the reader the chance to take a breath. Wonderful memoir of what it was like to be coming of age as a Generation X writer.
Read this, you won't regret it!
Cojackson68
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is compellingly readable - beautifully written, stark, poetic, shocking. Highly recommended.
Bareknuckle
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brentley Frazer’s memoir gorges on excess of sex, drugs and violence
ROHAN WILSON
The Australian12:00AM March 11, 2017

Marcel Duchamp once said a painting that doesn’t shock isn’t worth painting. The French artist knew a thing or two about shock, that strange power art has to upset and surprise. The porcelain urinal he attempted to exhibit at the 1917 Society of Independent Artists show became a sensation after the committee refused to allow it. A urinal presented as art? It seems quaint to us toda
...more
Geoffrey Datson
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You will read this book in the present tense. It’s a philosophical hobo’s glyph scratched on the side of a collapsing civilisation. Best book I read last year ousting a thousand year history of Constantinople slowly imploding. It had better drugs a and sex and unlike Constantinople will not spawn a Fourth Roman Empire.Looking forward to his next book. Hopefully about space exploration, an archeological dig on an asteroid because he’s laid waste to Queensland nothing left to find here.
Nathan
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read that captures the times and locations so well. A richly poetic Australian story with a great cast of supporting characters and side kicks. Well worth a read. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Heffy
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This autobiographical tale traces the development of a boy into adulthood and for that reason you could call it a coming-of-age story . However, in Scoundrel Days, most of the genre conventions are turned upside down, and the narrative is so different, it feels more correct to call it an "anti-coming-of-age" story.

I just googled "anti-coming-of-age" and sure enough various critics have used the term to describe a wide variety of stories. I'd like to cautiously propose that in this type of story
...more
María Domínguez
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Scoundrel Days is an overpowering poetic read. I couldn´t drop it until I finished. An eye-kicking modern bildungsroman. I truly recommend it!
Mal
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this book at a bus stop in Melbourne and started reading and found myself utterly addicted. I was unable to stop reading, stealing glances at my desk at work between calls, reading late into the night, dreaming all the breakneck action and vivid characters. I've read it four times now and despite learning of the unique literary constraint in the author's note after my first reading I cannot explain what it is about this text that is so damn alluring. The work’s geography derives from the ...more
Glenn Hunt
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cracker of a book.
Melanie
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did. not my normal type of book. the book is pretty fast paced and the end made me want to read more.
Erin Brown
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book!! Had me hooked to see how his life turned out! :)
Kaeli Etheridge
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just like Hemingway's lean and athletic prose, Frazer's story tells a fast and furious tale. Impossible to put down, I loved every second like I lived it myself.
James Vendi
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 16+, fans of bohemian literature/lifestyles
Recommended to James by: Library loan
I haven't felt moved to review a book here on Goodreads until now. I consider myself a bibliophile and occasionally I'll rave to a friend or sympathetic ear, but for this book I had to write something because more readers need to give this book a closer look. Scoundrel Days is an account of twenty years in the life of its anti-hero, Brentley, who shares his name with the author (all other names in the book have been changed). It begins in childhood, when the protagonist is five or six years old, ...more
Kim_S
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers of contemporary classics
Recommended to Kim_S by: Australian Book Review
* NOTE: I updated my earlier review after a fifth read* I read very favourable criticism on Scoundrel Days in the Australian Book Review and twice in The Australian newspaper when it came out over a year ago now. It's not often good reviews turn me off but when the critics compare a new writer on the scene with some of the books I love and cherish I'm instantly sceptical. I then came across it in my local library so I borrowed it, read it twice in three days and ordered my own copy. I have read ...more
Deb
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Thought I'd love this one and I enjoyed it at first.

However, the bulk of the book is just a litany of the times and ways Frazer broke the law and abused drugs, women and friendships. It soon becomes tedious.

It feels that the author is desperate to be seen as like his heroes Byron and Kerouac, but is the only one who believes in his own legend. If this is supposed to be a coming of age book, I never felt that he had emerged at the end a new person. At one stage in the book one of his companions a
...more
Johanna Ggg
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
It was very readable in that I kept turning the pages and there was some really well written parts, but the blurb on the back led me to believe it was about his experience in a cult and as a poet as well as his life of drugs, alcohol and sex. Yet it was the drugs, alcohol and sex that featured and I really would have preferred more on his development as a poet and also his experience in the cult. It seemed to focus on some of the worst parts of his character without too much justification and wi ...more
Joel
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this memoir in e-prime, a very tricky thing to pull off in a genre so much about passing off statements on the essence of things and people past as facts. The feeling after - of fleeting and direct observations at a breakneck pace - without ever judging, how much attributes to the e-prime and how much to other factors? Looking forward to reading the author’s research paper ’Beyond IS…Creative writing with English Prime’.
Tina
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wasn't entirely what I expected. I'd thought there'd be more about the cult. Still engaging though. Story of a misspent youth, with Qld and Melbourne locations.
Carla Roebuck
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this coming of age tale - raw, poetic, shocking and at times even funny. There is so much to love about this book. I didn't want to put it down. Highly recommend!
Lee
rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2018
Angie
rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2017
Tania Gillan
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2018
Mags
rated it it was ok
Jan 03, 2019
Timothy Wimothy
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2018
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⌘ Described by the critics as a 21st century Baudelaire on acid, a literary hoon, a philosophical hobo, a delinquent genius, a legendary protagonist, a Holden Caulfield for punks and an enigmatic self-styled outsider, Dr Brentley Frazer is an Australian writer from the wrong side of the tracks.

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