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The Silent Kookaburra

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  53 reviews
All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom.

Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells
Kindle Edition, 309 pages
Published November 29th 2016
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This is my first read for author Liza Perrat and I thoroughly enjoyed her beautiful writing style.

Liza Perrat transforms you into living side by side with eleven year old Tanya Randall in Wollongong Australia. Tanya hasn't had the easiest childhood so far with being bullied for her weight and how she looks. All that Tanya is wishing for is a happy family with a baby sister or baby brother. Tanya's mother Eleanor has had multiple miscarriages in the past but miraculously she becomes pregnant and

Eleven year old Tanya Randall was teased and bullied at school – she was overweight and had only one friend, Angela whose family was Italian so Angela was teased and bullied as well. It was the 1970s in Wollongong Australia and Tanya knew her mother Eleanor had been trying to have a baby for a long time. She had had many miscarriages until finally baby Shelley arrived, healthy and beautiful. Tanya and her family; Mum, Dad, Nanna Purvis and now Shelley all lived in Gumtree Cottage where they
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

The Silent Kookaburra is the fourth novel by Australian-born author, Liza Perrat. It’s the middle of summer, January 1972, and ten-year-old Tanya Randall is dying to go to the beach. Mum won’t take her because, with baby Shelley crying all the time with colic, she’s worn out. And more and more, after work, Dad heads to the pub.

The girls at school are always taunting her about her weight, but she does, at least, have one good friend, Angela, although Tanya’s ever-cranky Nana Purvis does
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Like seriously, wow! The back cover of the book says this story will get under your skin and that is not a lie. I can't stop thinking about it.

Set in Australia in the early 1970's, this novel tackles a number of dark and disturbing topics, seen through the eyes of our narrator, eleven-year-old Tanya.

Tanya struggles at school. She's not the prettiest, nor the skinniest but what she wants more than anything, is a happy family. Sadly her mother has suffered multiple miscarriages and this has l
Meggy - Chocolate'n'Waffles
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The rating was rounded up from 3.5 to 4. The original rating and review can be found on my blog @

The Silent Kookaburra. I admit I had to Google what a kookaburra was. I am not familiar with Australia and its fauna, except for the horrifying pictures of spiders, snakes, and frogs I spot on my friends' pages on Instagram! So from the beginning, this story was meant to be a journey. My journey on a different continent in the 70s and a little girl's journey through her

Jenny Reeve
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
Set in Wollongong, Australia between 1972 and 2016.

Tanya, 11 years old and living with her parents and Nanna Purvis at Gumtree Cottage. The name of the cottage reminds me of a quiet and quaint cosy home, but Gumtree Cottage is far from that. There has been nothing but bad luck for Tanya and her family at this house. Bad luck that drives her mother insane and her father to booze.

The characters are all very unique and interesting. Tanya, ashamed of her weight and desperate for her mother and fat
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars as I can't fault the writing. I bought this after reading one glowing review which did not mention in any detail the themes, I don't think I will do this again. This book was relentlessly depressing and covered so many sad/difficult/ appalling / dreadful situations that it swamped me in negativity. Told from the perspective of an 11 yr old girl, set in a small town in Australia during the 1970's. After reading the story I can only say no young girl should ever have to cope with even ha ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set in 1970s Wollongong, Australia, The Silent Kookaburra is told through the eyes of Tanya Randall, an overweight girl, socially excluded at school, teetering on the edge of womanhood. Uncertain of her place in the world, Tanya clings to family. And it's that family that make Perrat's novel so special. There's Mum, obsessively cleaning, trying to block out memories of the multiple miscarriages she's suffered; there's Dobson, Tanya's well-meaning, alcoholic father doing his best to hold the fami ...more
Jo Barton
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In 1970s Australia eleven year old Tanya Randall is growing up in a family which always seems to be at odds with itself. Her mother is not quite functioning on all cylinders, her father spends too much time and too much money in local bars and even the curmudgeonly Nanna Purvis does little to help to relieve the stress that Tanya faces. Bullied at school for her weight problem and her friendship with the 'foreign' girl, Angela, Tanya seems to be forever just one step out of step with both her fa ...more
Steve White
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Didn’t know what to expect with this book, it was pushed as a “psychological thriller”, a genre which I have not delved into before.
Very fortunate that I had the opportunity to read The Silent Kookaburra. It's the first book that I have chewed through in a matter of days, eagerly turning each page and becoming lost in the story.
Another great aspect of the novel was it's location. Set in Wollongong there were some terrific references to streets and landmarks across the Illawarra. As someone who
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
3.5 STARS - I have read and enjoyed two of Perrat's earlier Historical Fiction novels set during WWII (Wolfsangel, Blood Rose Angel). She is a wonderful writer whose plots are compelling and characters leap off the page. When she approached me to review this book I was more than eager to read something from her from a different genre and era - suspense in the 'groovy' 1970's.

The book is set within Perrat's native Australia with Tanya, an eleven year old girl as our protagonist. She's a tween gro
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very atmospheric, oppressive with a mounting sense of foreboding, this book envelops the reader in a subtle vice grip. The fierce heat of an Australian summer is unrelenting, and the elements in general are a force in the story.
‘It could have been the westerly wind, though, that blasted for over a month, gales whistling though the fig, gum and jacarandas, sneaking beneath the low-slung verandah eaves, and rattling the stone foundations.’
There’s no escape from the unpleasant web, and thus one mu
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I have read by Liza Perrat and I enjoyed it very much. Set in Australia in the 1970's, we meet eleven year old Tanya Randall and her dysfunctional family. A slow burner of a book, which nevertheless makes you want to keep turning the pages to find out exactly what is going to happen to these characters.
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A change of direction for this author which she pulled off, loved it and look forward to more psychological suspense from her.
Full review coming soon.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2017, thriller
"The Silent Kookaburra" is a thriller from writer Liza Perrat. I've enjoyed some of Perrat's other books, all historical fiction. This one is a departure from genre for her and turned out to be a positive gamble for me! Tanya is a child who doesn't quite fit in. She's teased at school. At home, she feels ignored and sometimes unloved. When her uncle that she knew nothing about enters the picture, it will upend her life and that of her family's.

The subject matter of the book is quite difficult. I
Neill Bartlett
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Silent Kookaburra took me back to life growing up in Australia in The 70's with fond familiarity and recollection. Liza transported me back to a time where The Lucky Country was the place to grow up, especially while covering up your family secrets, the ones you never talked about ... until now.
Liza tells a griping story of of deceit, betrayal and manipulation while composing a family of strong and entertaining characters.
If you want to be compelled from the first page until the last, I woul
E.L. Lindley
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat is a hauntingly poignant story, set in small town Australia primarily in 1973 and told through the voice of eleven year old Tanya Randall. Perrat does not shy away from dark subject matter such as paedophilia, mental illness and bereavement but she offsets the horror with her lyrical, almost poetic writing.

From the opening page, Perrat evokes in her reader an uneasy ominous tension as the middle-aged Tanya is going through her grandmother’s things and finds a
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a really well-written and absorbing story. Set in 1970s small-town Australia it centres on Tanya – an unhappy child, overweight, bullied at school and trying to cope with her mother who has been devastated by a series of miscarriages. Her father loves her, but he doesn’t cope either, seeking solace far too often in the local pub, and her grandmother, Nanna Purvis, is a hard woman, although her kindness shines through as the novel progresses.
When her mum finally gives birth to a daughter,
Harriet Steel
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eleven year old Tanya Randall longs for a happy family life but her mother is withdrawn and depressed after numerous miscarriages; her adored father escapes to the pub and her grandmother, Nanna Purvis, grumbles at everyone except her dog.
When mother at last succeeds in carrying a baby to term, little Shelley looks like the saviour of the family but Shelley's a sickly baby and it's not to be.
I won't say more about the plot as I don't want to spoil it for other people but be warned, the problems
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The reader is taken on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, feeling sorry for and intensely protective of the unsuspecting and innocent Tanya, blisteringly angry at the predatory Uncle Blackie, full of contempt for the parents who don't even notice the danger their own child is in, but also pity for their personal tragedies. Then there is the straight-talking Nanna Purvis, always there to offer some words of wisdom and a bit of light relief from all the drama.

full review on my blog : http://madhou
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Novel is a gem! Credible plot, realistic characters (with faults), the setting in a small town south of Sydney, Australia all drew me in. I found joy, sorrow and tragedy in this novel. I felt like I was part of this dysfunctional family. Story is narrated by an 11-year old daughter who is unhappy with her weight and not fitting into her peer group. I will be eager to find other novels by this author
Cathee Evans
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 great book . Set in the 70s about an 11 year old and her dysfunctional family. This book has infidelity , a dad who drinks , a mother who lands in a psychiatric hospital and an uncle who is a pedophile . It was great to see the young girl go from an insecure child to someone who eventually handles her situation with strength . Will be reading the other books by this author.
Chris Curran
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that as an avid reader of psychological crime I have become a little tired of disappearing children or characters trapped in dysfunctional marriages. So I’m happy to report that whilst still having the twisty plot and complex relationships that make for a great domestic noir, The Silent Kookaburra offers something refreshingly different.

It’s 1970s Australia and young Tanya is on the cusp of becoming a teenager. The sun shines, the beach is nearby, but Tanya is far from living th
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Something very different from Liza Perrat. Still the same vivid, strong, bolshy, walk-off-the-page characters as in Liza's historical fiction, but this book is set in the more recent past - in 1970s Australia. It follows a girl called Tanya as everything she'd come to expect is swept away. She has to find a way to grow up and cope alone while her family falls apart. This book is a timely reminder to really take notice when we look at our children, and reveals what can happen when it's just too i ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: kindle-read
An intriguing tale set in Australia, largely in the 1970s and told through the eyes of 11 year old Tanya - a tale of joy, sorrow and tragedy, family secrets and child abuse set against a suburban Australian backdrop. Great tale with a shocking, though personally not too unexpected, twist at the end. Great read, loved the setting, some of the language and things mentioned brought back my own 60s childhood in Australia - 9/10.
Jill's Book Cafe
4.5 stars

The Silent Kookaburra is a touching, troubling and at times challenging story narrated by eleven year old Tanya. She is at the heart of the book, that relates the tale of a her dysfunctional family in small town Wollongong, Australia in the early 1970's. Against a background of her mother's repeated miscarriages; her father's drinking; her grandmother's sniping and playground jibes about her weight and appearance, Tanya appears to have a resilience that belies her years. When a baby sis
Cathy Ryan
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story opens with Tanya packing up her parents’ home after their deaths. An old newspaper cutting her grandmother saved brings memories rushing back and, despite her uneasiness and resistance, pulls Tanya back to the sweltering summer of 1973 and her eleven year old self.

The story is narrated from Tanya’s perspective in the third person. She is overjoyed at the birth of her baby sister, after multiple miscarriages suffered by her mother. The family, along with Nanna Purvis, live in Gumtree Co
Terry Tyler
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber's Review Team

Every so often I find a real gem in the review team submission list, and this was one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed it; Liza Perrat is an excellent writer.

The story takes place in the early 1970s in a quiet town in New South Wales called Wollongong, and is narrated by eleven year old Tanya, who lives with her alcoholic but not unlikable father, Dobson, her disturbed mother, Eleanor, who has miscarried many children, and her grandmother, Nann
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having read and loved all Liza Perrat’s historical fiction, set in Europe, I was intrigued to find out whether her latest novel, set in 1970s Australia would be as good. Well, I was thrilled to discover it’s every bit as good if not even better. It’s a real page-turner with fabulously engaging characters and a gripping plot, the outcome of which I did not guess before the final revelation. One of the special joys of the novel for me was the authentic and – despite the tragic content of the story ...more
Felicity Terry
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YAY! With three previous works of amazing historical fiction under her belt, Liza Perrat does it again with, no, not another historical fiction, but this, a novel of psychological suspense. And my, is the suspense palpable.

In a total about-change from her previous novels which are set in rural France, The Silent Kookaburra, a truly chilling read made all the more so by the fact its narrated by eleven year old Tanya Randall, is set in 1970's Australia.

Taunted by many of her peers and with a moth
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Aussie Readers: Aussie-based psychological suspense new release 15 15 Dec 09, 2016 07:00AM  

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Liza grew up in Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won aw

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