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The Lucky Galah

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  672 ratings  ·  122 reviews

"Subtle, disarming and insightful" Rosalie Ham, author of the bestselling novel The Dressmaker

A magnificent novel about fate, Australia and what it means to be human... it just happens to be narrated by a galah called Lucky.

It's 1969 and a remote coastal town in Western Australia is poised to play a pivotal part in the m
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Picador Australia
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  672 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
If I awarded stars based purely on originality, I would easily allocate The Lucky Galah by debut author Tracy Sorensen five full stars. This unique and very Australian novel employs the use of an icon, the pink and grey galah, to narrate the events of this novel. An Australian novel through and through, The Lucky Galah offers up plenty of discussion on our land, its people and the events that define our existence.

The Lucky Galah bases itself in a tiny and re
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing

It is 1964 and The Federal Department of Supply manage to lure Evan Johnson away from his job in Melbourne where he works in an electrical company who make radio transistors for boats and planes. The persuade him to make, what at the time, was a long and arduous trip to Port Badminton in the north west of Australia, with the prospect of excellent pay and an extraordinary technological assignment, which we, in hindsight as the reader, know is the enorm
Evan and Linda Johnson and their young daughter Jo drove from Melbourne to the small town of Port Badminton in Western Australia for Evan to take up the position of radar technician, communicating between Apollo 11 and Houston, Texas. It was the 1960s and the Moon landing was imminent – the installation of the gigantic Dish caused great discussion among the residents…

The Johnson’s moved into a home two down from the Kelly family. The children would become great friends – Marjorie and Linda becam
My lasting impression of The Lucky Galah aside from the beautiful feathered cover is it's just a little bit tricksy for its own good. Luckily the parts narrated by the Galah do actually work, it's imaginative and endearing - not a word I have used in many book reviews recently. I assume the author studied plenty of Galah's in preparation for this novel. If only the Galah could have narrated the entire thing, I think I could have been more effusive about this book.

There are plenty of stylisti
Dec 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This was slightly better than its premise – a novel narrated by a galah. I did enjoy it but it never completely captured me and fell victim to detailed descriptions rather than driving plot.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 ★s
The Lucky Galah is the first novel by Australian academic, journalist, film-maker and author, Tracy Sorensen. Lucky hadn’t been named until she was rescued from imminent death by Lizzie, who knew a lot about birds. And not long after that Lucky first received a transmission from the Dish, up there on the Red Range outside Port Badminton.

The Dish had been installed for transmissions during the forthcoming lunar landing, and years of preparation for this historic event were necessary. But i
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ozzie-gems
Set in a remote Western Australian town called Port Badminton throughout the 60's in the lead-up to the great change that came with lunar exploration, writer, filmmaker and acedemicTracy Sorensen's debut novel is a compelling and intriguing read. Narrated by an Aussie icon in the humble Galah it is not difficult to suspend a little disbelief and at times it's hard to follows the stories varied threads.

Port Badminton is just like any other small Aussie town other than a giant satellite dish to be
Theresa Smith
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2018
It’s no great secret that I am a fan of overtly Australian novels, especially the ones set in small communities. I love the unique Aussie references and familiar slang, and what many often peg as cliché, I tend to adore. The Lucky Galah was a treat from beginning to end for me. A truly delightful slice of Aussie life from days gone by. Tracy Sorensen has done a splendid job of creating a trip down memory lane for all of the 60s, 70s and 80s children within us. There were so many moments of, “I r ...more
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
3.5 stars

The Lucky Galah is true blue Aussie storytelling by Tracy Sorensen and narrated by no other than a galah called Lucky. Galahs are a highly intelligent, social and highly adaptable animal, is it any wonder the author chose a galah to narrate this tale!

There are three birds I find truly captivating, - the kookaburra, the emu and the galah and they are as Aussie and unique as the ‘EH holden’, ‘milk arrowroot biscuits’ and ‘vegemite’. The reader will find many more Aussie references inside
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was not a huge fan, and really think I must have missed something after seeing some of the other ratings and reviews. For me, the plot fell very short and there was a lot of nothing padding out the storyline. Some of the descriptive narrative was enjoyable and the Galah was quite a character but apart from that it held little appeal.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is impossible for me to be objective in this review because it is set so close to home that it is not funny. I picked up this book for the pink & grey on the jacket (I know!, "don't judge a book by its cover") and the back flap alluded to West Australia's role in the space race and that was familiar territory too.
I was floored to realise this was set in Carnarvon, a small North West Australian town I spent much of my childhood in, with the book exchange that my Mother, established in the late
Tracey Sorensen’s The Lucky Galah is a quirky, original novel which put me in mind of the film adaptation of Rosalie Ham’s novel The Dressmaker.

The reminiscences of country life in 1960s Australia were appealing as were the typically ‘Australian’ characters like Dogger the dingo shooter who appreciates that “some creatures are lucky and some are not, and that this can change at the drop of a hat.” p101. The ways in which characters respond to the good or bad luck they have bestowed on them is
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an unusual book, which is hardly surprising given its avian narrator. The premise of the galah as narrator works surprisingly well, though I wasn't so sure about the Dish's transmissions to the galah.

The book is driven much more by exploration of its characters than an action-packed plot. This isn't a criticism, as the characters are well-drawn and believable. It does mean the story is a bit slow moving at times.

The historical setting at the time of the moon landing is fascinating. I li
Michael Livingston
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
In so many ways this book was made for me - Aussie fiction, narrated by a galah, lots of bird content, the space race etc - but I never really bought into the conceit. It's a brave choice to have a galah narrator who gets information beamed to its brain from the local satellite dish and I found the whole setup a bit too convoluted to really get into. ...more
Lesley Moseley
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
So glad I read this lighthearted novel, so of its time and place. I knew these people and this town!
Such well drawn characters, and why not have a narrator of a galah?
Sam Still Reading
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: I love birds!
It’s no secret that I adore birds. So when I first heard about The Lucky Galah, I was desperate to read it. I have a multi-generational family of these beautiful pink and grey cockatoos that visit regularly and reading about them just sounded like so much fun! The added bonus of this story is that it’s set in an area I’m familiar with, north west coastal Western Australia. The fictional town of Port Badminton is a close ringer for the town of Carnarvon, dish and all. But in the 1960s, many thing ...more
A fresh, quirky novel. Many little flights of fancy set in the bright sunlight of a small town on the cyclone prone WA coast.
One small step for a pet Galah narrating 1960s small coastal town Australia and the human Galahs he observes. Particularly noting 'the trackers', who operate 'The Dish', and their small but essential contribution to the moon landing.
Delightfully nostalgic.
A worthy addition to the 2019 Miles Franklin Long-list. Not sure if it will make it through to the short-list but ve
Jen Jurss
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply brilliant! A beautifully written book that gives insight into the lives of families in 1960s remote WA town during the space race. The best part - the unreliable galah narrator, Lucky.

This is the most self aware and fabulous bird, who hears the stories of the people and birds around her, and yearns.

"I have a place at the table. A cup of tea. A biscuit. A Moon Ball gown. I could swoon. I let out a happy double chirrup".

A truly different voice that takes you back to the challenges, unseen
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
The Lucky Galah strongly evoked a sense of time and place for me. In this remote West Australian location, predominantly set around 1968, I was immersed in the community which included a collection of long time locals and the more recent ‘dish operator’ families. I also enjoyed the quirkinesses of a galah narrator but didn’t really feel the dish was successful in the same way.
Saturday's Child
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
And now ladies and gentlemen, for something a little bit different, a novel narrated by a Galah. The title caught my attention and then the quirky plot made me read it. For a variety of reasons I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would have.
Max Coggan
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
An enjoyable light read of people’s lives in a small W. A. town ......uniquely told by a galah.
Julia Tulloh Harper
This was a nice, relatively easy read - set in Western Australia during the 1960s in the lead up to the moon landing, Lucky the galah (a pet galah who intercepts messages and other people's thoughts through the town's satellite dish, being used for communications with Houston) narrates closely the stories of two families, their feelings, affairs, life in general, etc. I liked some of the overall nostalgia in the book but overall wasn't convinced by the necessity of the galah narrator (nor by its ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful read - cleverly structured, the story draws you in immediately. Highly recommend
Lizzie Norman
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! So fresh and original with relatable characters and a story that flowed perfectly. I read it in a day, couldn’t put it down.
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
"I make myself sick. I sit here, with my clipped wing, celebrating your story of flight."

I don't normally like non-human POVs because they usually come across as false or weird. From blurb I wasn't expecting to like this much. I was very pleasantly proven wrong.

Sorensen does a brilliant job of bringing Lucky to life. I could imagine her actually thinking those things. She uses the connection between the dish and the galahs as a way of bringing in the human POVs, which I thought was ok and tied i
Natasha (jouljet)
A story of a tiny, remote town in northern Western Australia, who has a Dish that is part of the transmission of the moon landing. A cast of characters, and children growing up, intertwined as small communities are.

The narrator is a galah, sometimes caged, otherwise sitting upon a shoulder going about town. Lucky the Galah knows everything that goes on in this town, she is across all the secrets - assisted by the Dish.

Nostalgia is a key theme of this read, from the echoes off the page of lines
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This novel is set in a remote town in Western Australia in the 1960s. The town hosts a satellite dish that is part of the communication network around the first moon landing. The book captures perfectly the spirit of the time and the naivety of existence then. It also captures the heat and dust of the location and the social aspects of the town - the 'trackers' who worked at the dish did not socialise with the townspeople, except their children did.
I had problems, though, in that the book was na
Jazzy Lemon
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
What did I just read? A story, at least in part, told from the view of a bird.
Ally Van Schilt
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really refreshing and different perspective on the Australian novel. I really enjoyed the narration and how cleverly everything came together.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The concept of a galah's POV isn't something I was drawn to but once I picked this book up I fell in love. Beautiful characters, lovingly observed against the back drop of the moon landing. The humanity of the protagonists is rendered with great kindness. I wish everyone would read it. ...more
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