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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  3,678 ratings  ·  425 reviews
In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.

Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab's dad hits him or how the sudden death of Ben's next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsa
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published June 27th 2017 by Hachette Australia
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Mathew Gregson
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Margaret Modra The language in the book left a lot to be desired. I read the whole book, then ripped it up & threw it into the bin. I should have just jumped to the …moreThe language in the book left a lot to be desired. I read the whole book, then ripped it up & threw it into the bin. I should have just jumped to the final chapters. Too many profanities & other crude language.(less)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There really are some terrific Aussie writers out there, and award winning Mark Brandi is a welcome addition, with this, his debut novel, short in length but big in its impact. Its a book of light and shadows, tuning into the lives of two best friends at specific times in their lives. 11 year olds Ben and Fab, are living in a small town in Victoria in 1989, we then catch up with Fab's life decades later after the momentous events that happened when he was a young, still stuck in the same town wh ...more
“The car never seemed to go anywhere and the curtains of the house were always shut. Fab reckoned the neighbour was probably doing interrogations inside. He said there was stuff about that in the book, that they’d usually do it in the dark with a bright lamp shining in your eyes.”

Ah, boys and their imaginations, eh? A couple of primary school boys, about 11 years old, are imagining who the new neighbour is and what he might be up to. He’s renting the house next-door to Ben, and they wonder i
Olive skinned Fab, tormented and bullied in school had only one friend – Ben stuck up for his best friend and kept the bullies at bay. The two boys played cricket, both backyard and in their school team – they also went yabbying together. A typical childhood in the hot summer of 1989 in the small town of Stawell in the Wimmera region of rural Victoria – Ben was content with his mum and dad while Fab was frightened of his violent father.

But after Ben’s neighbours moved, another man came to live
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*4.5 stars
Wimmera is a remarkable debut novel that highlights the power of boyhood friendship when a quiet tragedy occurs, the impact reverberating across the years. Mark Brandi, the debut author of Wimmera, applies a steady hand to his first novel. Rightly so, as Wimmera generated plenty of positive attention before it was published, taking out the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award. This soon followed a publishing deal with Hachette Australia.

Edgarr Alien Pooh
Wimmera is a region in Victoria, Australia. It is in central Victoria, north of Melbourne but not as far up as the Murray River which splits Victoria from New South Wales. It contains a handful of small country towns including Stawell, at the base of the Grampian mountains, where this book is set.

This is the debut crime novel by Mark Brandi and is unapologetically Australian. Although you can read the book and understand the story, there are many Australian references to people and places that n
The story had potential but the execution didn't deliver.

As I stated in the update, there was way too much female objectification and wanking coming from an 11-year-old, who was otherwise a perfectly normal, nice boy in 1989. I didn't need those images in my head and I thought it was a bit too much - admittedly, I'm not a male, and I don't know how much self-love is too much.

I liked the settings and the descriptions of the rural Victorian town and the references to that era.

So, while this did
This coming-of-age crime drama will stay with me for a long time.

1989 – Stawell: a small mining town in Victoria, Australia. 11 year old, Ben Carver is spending a carefree summer holiday, fishing for yabbies (crayfish), camping, playing cricket, and most exciting of all, experiencing it all with his best friend Fab. Their enjoyment is somewhat marred by the suicide of a girl their age, and Fab’s abusive father, but they try not to let these things get them down.

Then, Ronnie Bellamy moves into t
This is a dark tale about two boyhood friends growing up in a small Victorian town in the summer of 1989 and the shadow the events of that summer cast on their lives. Fab (short for Fabrizio) and Ben are both 11 and in the last year at primary school. Their summer days are filled with yabbying, backyard cricket and camping out. Everything changes when a new neighbour, Ronnie moves in and starts asking Ben to do odd jobs for him. Twenty years later Fab is still in the same town working a dead end ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is it with Aussie crime writers' ability to articulate and create suspense so well; they always seem to get the balance between plot and characters correct too, and this stunning debut is no exception. Multiple award-winning author Mark Brandi joins favourites such as Jane Harper and Chris Hammer, to name a few. First published under the name Wimmera in Australia in Summer 2017, now we UK readers are given the opportunity to read this unforgettable novel. It's actually relatively short in l ...more
Carolyn Walsh
I was anxious to read this Australian novel after seeing favourable reviews and learning that it had won the CWA Debut Dagger Award. I can only describe my reaction to the book. Its nonlinear structure with its gaps and unanswered questions just wasn't working for me. There was a pervasive sense of hopelessness, melancholy and despair, but it's lethargic pace kept me from any feeling of suspense. I sympathized with the two boys in the story but wasn't feeling a connection. Set in a small country ...more

A stunning debut novel.

Australia has been producing some real top quality fiction lately. After becoming a Jane Harper's fan, I've discovered Mark Brandi, a new talented Australian writer.

Into the River came as a literary thriller and yes, there is no doubts about it. With his emotional and compelling debut novel set Mark Brandi the bar very high. I can't wait for his next book!

Into the River tells the story of two boy friends, Ben and Fab, who grew in a small Australian town. The first part of
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling

By page 70 I was really really worried.... it seems i was right to be. What a read!!

My View:
Powerful, evocative, once you read you cannot unread.

I guess you can say I am intuitive, I can read people (mostly) or maybe read moods is a better explanation – a survivor’s skill, an empathetic skill. I notice things, things that can make me feel uncomfortable, little things, an attitude, a facial expression, often something intangible, a prickling of the skin… a niggling feeling t
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b, 2019






Growing up in a small country town, Ben and Fab spend their days playing cricket, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab's dad hits him, or how th

Finished reading ... Wimmera / Mark Brandi ... 29 November 2017
ISBN: 9780733638459 … pp.262

Most of what happens in Wimmera is very skillfully written between the lines. But oh, the lines :-(

The story – largely predictable, very slowly drawn out because it is so much between the lines.
The characters – totally under-developed.
The females – weak and downtrodden, occasionally punching bags.
The males, from age 10 upwards – penis focussed, either, in the words of the book, pissing or wanking, and thin
Oh Lord.....the unnecessary detail in this book just ruined it for me. Some of the writing was just beautiful and Brandi captured small town Aussie life really well but c'mon mate enough with the trifling details. GET ON with the story. I think there could have been so much more to this book had the author focused more on the characters and less on the excessive details of the mundane existence of Fab in particular. Very little was revealed about Ben and how he his life evolved. Such a shame bec ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5*. Well written literary thriller set in a small Australian town. The themes covered are quite dark and disturbing. Follows 2 time periods within the same town. Has won a few crime awards but I'd say its more thriller/drama than crime. ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book. The writing was tight and lyrical and every sentence felt perfectly composed. It was accessible and pacy and utterly captivating. The court scene at the end felt well researched. I was frustrated by the slightly ambiguous ending, but that's just a personal preference thing :) this should definitely be an aussie classic ...more
Set in a small town in rural Victoria near the Grampian mountains, Wimmera tells the coming-of-age story of two boys, Fab and Ben, whose friendship bonds them like brothers. Playing cricket in the backyard and going yabbying down the local creek, they support each other when either of them needs it: standing united against bullies, providing a safe shelter when Fab’s father has been drinking too much, discussing their changing bodies and having childhood crushes on girls or Fab’s mother. Until t ...more
I enjoyed this book but wanted to like it more than I did. It is quintessentially Australian and brought back A LOT of memories though I'm older (and was at Uni in 1989) than both Ben and Fab. References to TV shows like The Wonder Years and The A Team (the original obvs), cricketer Dean Jones, The Aussie Post (and its Ettamogah Pub cartoon) along Monkey (Magic) and Pigsy made me smile.

Brandi deals with a difficult topic in this book but does so with a very light touch. In fact, it may be a litt
Zuky the BookBum
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, 4-stars, own
Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)

I was in the mood for an exciting thriller and I decided to pick this Aussie fiction up. Instead of something fast paced and perhaps a little silly, I was met with something dark and bleak.⁠

This isn't the standard thriller crime novel that piece by piece uncovers and tries to solve a mystery. At it's heart, this is a coming-of-age about the strength of boyhood friendship and the impacts of hidd
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian, ebook, crime
In 2016 the unpublished manuscript of Wimmera won the UK Crime Writers’ Association debut dagger – now it’s published and we can see why. Reviewed at Newtown Review of Books ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Brandi is an excellent author who has got into the minds of two young boys, Ben and Fab. Boys will be boys who talk about girls and specially one girl who has died. They are young boys that play near a river when they not supposed to be any where near there, but once again boys will be boys who enjoy a bit of mischief. Then when a new neighbour moves in within the area their imagination seems to runaway with them thinking that the new man in their neighbourhood is a secret agent and begin t ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set around the Grampians, this debut novel follows two young boys as they grapple with their changing bodies in a small town full of people with small minds.
When a strange man moves in next door, Ben and Fabs life of endless summers, backyard cricket, yabbying in dams and lusting over girls they'll never get, comes to an abrupt end. The events of that summer will cast a shadow over the rest of their lives. This coming of age novel is a dark tale that packs a punch.
Highly recommend.
I absolutely loved this book which was set in Australia in the 1980s - a time that I remember with great fondness. This extremely enjoyable read concerned two boys who were growing up together, their childhood friendship, their loyalty to each other and the effect this had on their later lives.

The story unfolded rather randomly and I remain unsure whether or not I found this appealing.

There were a fair amount of uncomfortable themes throughout INTO THE RIVER though these were never considered i
Lou Greene
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fab and Ben are best friends, living in a small rural town, Wimmera, Australia. This tightly written story pulsates with tension from start to finish. It's written in two parts - the boys' childhood and when they are adults. Brandi brilliantly captures the awkwardness, naivety, aspirations and loyalties of the two young boys - the threat of violence or mishap always seems just around the corner, and never mores than when a newcomer arrives on the scene. No spoilers here, but in the second part o ...more
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m out of step with reviewers and awards here but this was not to my taste. The first part of the novel focuses on the characters of Ben and his friend Fab, who comes from an Italian family as the author did. Growing up in a small Wimmera town is well described but what put me off was the preoccupation of the boys with sex, girlie mags et al. As they were only in Year 6 this did not ring true to me as the mother of boys in that era and a teacher of high school students. (Yet I suppose Brandi is ...more
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For fans of The Dry, here is another crime novel set in the harsh landscape that is rural small town Victoria.

Jumping back & forth from when they were kids, to adults that have somehow lost touch with each other, we gradually find out what caused the rift when the 2 best friends were younger. Wimmera is a sadly plausible scenario, & another great addition to the Australian rural crime genre.
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
The writing was good and it was a quick read but as far as a crime novel goes it was just ok.

By the time I reached part two I felt my stomach forming knots and at that moment decided I wasn’t going to read further as I could see what was coming and that’s some serious shit I didn’t want to read about. I did proceed and it wasn’t as grim as I thought it would be as no explicit descriptions were given, only slightly hinted at, which in this case was a good thing as one doesn’t want to linger over
Monica Mac
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bit of a languid and yet disturbing tale of two boys growing up in late 80's country Australia. The author took me back to that time too, and even though I was a little older than the boys would have been then, I still had a little chuckle when he mentioned the various TV shows and what was in fashion at the time as I remember these things clearly.

Ben and Fab were best friends who were from very different backgrounds. As my parents were migrants too, I can relate to Fab quite a bit and
Karen Bartlett
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a cracking start to my 2019 reading! This debut Australian novel by Mark Brandi had me totally hooked from the opening pages and I couldn't put it down, finishing it in just 2 sittings.
Set in the 1980's in a small town in Victoria's Wimmera region, Brandi recounts the story of childhood friends Ben and Fab. Recounted in 3 parts which weave together seamlessly, Ben and Fab spend their days playing cricket and yabbying in local dams, dealing with schoolyard bullying and scuffles, their own se
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“He used to be married to Dolly Jack, who Ben never met, but he heard his mum say that she left him because of his drinking. Once he gave up booze she said he was too boring, so she moved to Mildura to live with some bloke called Fred. Ben had never seen Fred, but he had a moustache that Ben’s mum said was ‘disgusting’.” 0 likes
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