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Burning Down

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Charlie Smoke is living out his early retirement from the boxing ring as a bricklayer. It is the mid-1970s and he believes his best days are behind him. Hes lost his wife and daughter to his questionable past, but when he meets Holly Banks and her teenage son, Ricky, he has a chance to do things differently. As an unlikely friendship develops with Ricky, Charlie is ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 2017 by UQP (University of Queensland Press)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  34 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Kate Cornfoot
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down for 2 days straight! Armanno has done it again - created a beautifully heartwarming story that is packed with action, intrigue and great drama. The most striking element of this book, however, is the portrayal of fathers and sons - so much pathos in exploring what can sometimes be a fraught, complicated relationship. And it's all tied together with a touching love story - this is one very satisfied reader :)
Cass Moriarty
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Burning Down (UQP 2017), the new novel by acclaimed author Venero Armanno, is a raw and gritty depiction of life in the 70s in Brisbanes seedy inner heart. Charlie Smoke was once a famous boxer but now he is a bricklayer, building other peoples dreams and fixing other peoples mistakes, with a body that betrays him with its boxer aches and pains. He is a flawed character with a dodgy past, a history that cost him his wife and daughter. By chance he meets Holly Banks, and her teenage son Ricky, ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia, 18review, c21st
Venero Armanno is a great storyteller. My heart sank when I saw the cover of his latest novel because I detest boxing but I need not have worried. Burning Down is a thoroughly engaging story of redemption and reconciliation, and I liked it very much.
The novel is set in Brisbane in 1975, i.e. in the days before Brisvegas and gentrification, and also before the Fitzgerald Inquiry. While the mild summary from Wikipedia cant really convey the way that event reverberated around Australia
Abby N Lewis
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first of Armanno's books that I've encountered. What I really loved about it was how unique the story felt. I have a habit of trying to think of books similar to the one I'm reading while I'm reading it (a habit that comes from internships at publishing houses), but I could not think of any book that was even remotely like this one.

I adore books that feature older protagonists, simply because the publishing world seems to be oversaturated with YA books (and movies) at the moment,
Ann Tonks
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I've read by Venero Armanno and once again, I'm blown away by his capacity to create rich, raw, rough, real male characters. And the relationships they have with the world, with kids, with partners, with community are always engaging. In this case, the scene is set in Brisbane, Australia in the 1970s with an overlay of a world of boxing in previous decades. It's a story that can almost be called a thriller because of the way the revelations happen but its also a story of ...more
My Reading Days
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Michael Spicer
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Venero Armanno is an author well worth reading. His characters are realistic, flawed and tragic. This plot is exciting and tragic, but with just the right amount of hope sprinkled in.

Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars
Wow, Im certainly going to hunt up this author; his descriptions of the shadier side of town and an ex-boxers life are very realistic and confronting. The chance of a new start and of getting his daughter back in his life are tantalisingly close, but his health and his past both pose a question mark. Well written, in depth characters and blood-on-the sawdust atmosphere. ...more
T.S. Flynn
rated it did not like it
Nov 28, 2017
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
An excellent read
Venero Armanno
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Ricky S Milnes
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Venero Armanno, the son of Sicilian migrants, was born in Brisbane. He has travelled and worked throughout the world. In 1995, 1997 and 1999 he lived and wrote in the Cité International des Arts, Paris. He is the author of Jumping at the Moon, a book of short stories (equal runner-up in the prestigious Steele Rudd Award) and eight novels, including The Volcano, which won the Queensland Premier's ...more

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