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Taking Tom Murray Home

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  482 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The winner of the inaugural Banjo Prize, Taking Tom Murray Home is a funny, moving, bittersweet Australian story of fires, families and the restorative power of community.

Bankrupt dairy farmer Tom Murray decides he'd rather sell off his herd and burn down his own house than hand them over to the bank. But something goes tragically wrong, and Tom dies in the blaze. His wife
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Paperback, 293 pages
Published July 22nd 2019 by HarperCollins Australia
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  482 ratings  ·  91 reviews


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Carolyn
Taking Tom Murray home is a delightful book. It's a very Australian story focusing on the plight of dairy farmers who are being forced out of business by aggressive supermarket chains who have decided that cheap milk is what the public wants, even if it means dairy farmers and their families will lose their livelihoods. Tom Murray is one such farmer in rural Victoria. Unable to pay his bank loan, he decides to burn down his house instead of letting the bank take it. Unfortunately things go wrong ...more
Veronica ⭐️
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
*https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp...
Taking Tom Murray Home has a true Australian feel. The small farming community of Yardley bands together after Tom Murray is accidentally killed whilst burning down his own home. This was Tom’s act of defiance when the bank threatened to foreclose on his mortgage.
Narrated through 13 year old Jack Murray the story is heart-felt as Jack tries to understand his father’s death in his own way. We quite often get jack’s somewhat naive look on events.
Dawn Murray
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Marianne
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Taking Tom Murray Home is the debut novel by prize-winning Australian author, Tim Slee. Dairy farmer, Tom Murray had reached the end of his tether. The supermarkets had screwed down the price of milk so much that, despite all their hard work, the farm he ran with Dawn, Lazy Bones Dairy had become unviable. The bank wanted to take the house. Tom wasn’t going to allow that. They cleared out their belongings and, Dawn and the kids safely away, Tom set the place on fire.

But things didn’t quite go t
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Kylie H
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
The focus of the story is a funeral procession to bury Tom Murray. Tom was a dairy farmer who on the cusp of losing his farm to the banks due to debt, he decides to burn down the house rather than hand it over. This leaves his wife, Dawn and children, Jack and Jenny homeless. They decide to take Tom's coffin to Melbourne for burial and make a point about the helplessness of farmers dealing with supermarket chains and big banks.
This alone was a plot that made for a good story, however it also inc
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Tim Slee
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi, let's call this 'author notes' instead of a review coz clearly it isn't!

Taking Tom Murray Home started as some scrawled notes that came out of a conversation around a BBQ at a campground on the Great Ocean Road a few years ago. I was making dinner when a couple of blokes joined to share the BBQ and we got talking - it turned out they had just walked off their dairy farm after going bust (it was early in the milk wars). The farm had been in the family 40 odd years and the thing that stuck wi
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Joanne
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
What a little gem this book is. It had me hooked from the start.
The Book Squirrel
This is the story which will touch a chord with any Australian who has an understanding of and sympathy for the difficulty of farming, especially during a drought, and especially when $1/litre milk has been such a catastrophe for the farmers (which I've never bought, myself, just quietly).

Told through the eyes of an observant young boy who has a frank grasp of reality, the tale follows a convoy of Tom's wife (farmers' wives aren't pushovers!), her children (including the narrator, Jack), and sma
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Thomas
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'Mum lit the spark with Dad's funeral Jenny turned it into a wildfire. A wildfire that spread from bank to bank, State to State, and it's burning still.'

This is an absolute delight to read, and a great Australian uplit novel. I mean, sure, the kid protagonist's dad dies and the kid is unable to process these emotions, but...it ends on a good note, trust me.

What can't this book do? It has bone dry humour and brilliant Australian wit. It weaves a moving personal story around a much larger and gran
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Nic
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Taking Tom Murray Home is about a broke dairy farmer in country Victoria who burns down his house rather than give it to the bank, but accidentally dies in the fire. His wife then decides they’ll do a week long funeral procession to Melbourne that also serves as a protest against the low milk prices that have led to so many dairy famers being in similar dire financial circumstances, but told with good old Aussie wit and dry humour.

For Australians, this a really timely and thought-provoking read.
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Kylie Porter
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a read!!! Tin Slee captured the essence of country Australia in this book. One family's struggle with drought, rising costs and the depth of anguish many farmers are facing today in Australia. How a town rallies together to support each other whilst bringing the plight of small communities to the forefront. Analgesia, the condition the twins live with is an interesting twist in this story and only highlights how we all experience grief in different ways.
I love that the story is told throug
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Julie Garner
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, fiction
I received an ARC of this book.
I finished this book in one sitting. It was just too hard to put down.
Brilliantly written from the eyes of our 13 year old protagonist. Jack shows us his world as the son of a dairy farmer in Victoria’s Southwest.
It opens with the death of his father Tom Murray after he accidentally kills himself whilst in the act of protesting about the dairy industry and what is being done to the farmers. It is at this point that his wife decides to continue his fight and bring
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Ruth
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised and delighted by this book. It was charming and witty and poignant. Every word was applied sparingly and precisely in a manner that suggests the author's tenth novel, not his first novel. The premise is a fed-up Australian dairy farmer, neck deep in debt, who decides to burn his house down rather than let the bank have it and ends up killing himself in the process. It's a wonderful premise, and so thoroughly of the times as to hook you in immediately. I found Dawn, our heroine, u ...more
Nicola
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A horse-drawn funeral procession, a trail of burnt-out banks and supermarkets, a defiant widow and her two dry-eyed children … a country that allows its farmers to be forced off the land … has there ever been a book so deeply Australian as ‘Taking Tom Murray Home’? This book won the 2018 Banjo Prize, an award for an unpublished great Australian story – and storyteller. The winner, Tim Slee, is not only that, but also a great Australian humourist.

And what tinder-dry humour it is, flipping tragedy
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Liz
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!

Right from the first page, it drew me in and I did not want to put it down.

It is the story of ordinary people on an extraordinary journey, protesting their cause. It follows the group on their procession which rouses a community and gathers support. It is also a suspenseful story and up until the end we are left wondering who is lighting the fires along the way.

Jack and Jenny, the two young teenagers at the heart of this story are great characters. Jack is telling the story an
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Sharon Viveiros Rice
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was introduced to Slee's incredible talent in rapid succession - first The Vanirim, with its twisty, futuristic plot that sucks you in from the get-go, then followed by my forever-favorite Charlie Jones series whose irrepressible title character captivates and entertains. These memorable works couldn't be more different from each other and collectively, they demonstrate Slee's versatility and skill as a writer. His latest work, Taking Tom Murray Home, is equally wonderful and will no doubt ear ...more
Tim Armstrong
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really loved this very readable, enjoyable, quirky novel. At times it's so Australian. But it certainly is a book of it's time. Although the author has written previous novels, this is certainly a worthy winner of this new award, (the Banjo Award) and I for one hope it achieves broad readership, because it deserves it.
Stephen Lancken
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Telling a story with as much colour as this one rich as this one, through the eyes of a 13 year old, is a bold challenge.

AND the author nails it!

How we deal with death and injustice and our personal weaknesses not to mention what we are doing to the planet are all wrapped up in this funny/sad poignant story. Oh and the horse with a character as big as his heart.

I read this book in one sitting. And cried and laughed with a family that invited me into their tragedy and their way of making sense of
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Tomas
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tim Slee resonates an authentic Aussie narrative voice within his novel, cultivating national heritage with sheer comedic genius to articulate challenges of rural living. The novel is a tale of death, debacles and mystery which entails a voyage through outback Australia. Specific characterization explores how some individuals are confined by gender roles, implanted externally through societal means. As a year 12 student myself, I have been personally challenged as the development of a strong fem ...more
Trevor
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, australian
A really enjoyable read, set against the background of the crisis in the dairy industry and it’s impact on a family and a community.
Fran Whiteman
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A touching book with a lovely set of twins
Susanne Oliver-dearman
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading Tim Slee’s Banjo Prize winning novel took me far longer than it would usually, but for ultimately praiseworthy reasons. My husband and I are travelling regional Australia for a year, living out of the back of a small AWD. While I’ve been slowly reading ‘Tom Murray,’ we’ve been trundling through dairy, sheep, grain and orchard country, and amongst fisheries, forests and national parks. Everyday we’ve been listening to Australians, many of whom are confronting the novel’s themes.

Slee’s pro
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Katie Clews
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very thought provoking book especially in the time of crisis in the dairy industry.. really enjoyed this one.. I’m a strong supporter of buying branded milk as our cousins own a dairy farm in Rockhampton.. very enjoyable and easy read
Anna Loder
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! I think this book will be an Australian classic. A dairy farmer that has lost his farm. A funeral processions that sends a message. It’s full of characters that are instantly Australian. The language is completely naturally Australian ‘cop’ ‘digde’ ‘yeah’ ‘later’..nothing over the top, just normal. I read it as a quintessentially Australian book. A great read that is so thoughtful.
Laurel
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. A story that has love and loss, laughter and sadness, light and darkness.
Catherine
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book from the get go - it's just such a charmer, with a heart of gold. It's hugely topical - in some ways, the plot feels like it's ripped from the headlines: a farmer forced off his land by a combination of the banks and the drought; a tragic accident; a grieving widow; an angry community that decides to protest ... All that makes it sound like it's going to be really grim, but the joy of the book is that it's the exact opposite. There's very real warmth here, and humou ...more
Kerry RM
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
What a great book! Funny sad light and dark. A great yarn.
Carol
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Taking Tom Murray Home tells the story of the issues surrounding modern day Australian farming and communities through the eyes of a young teenager. This could well have been a work of non-fiction as it accurately reflects the current issues of our farmers (and beyond).

This book has it all - drought, debt, death, fires, mateship, humour and true Australian spirit. A page-turner from beginning to end, I wanted to find out just what would happen to this strong group of family and friends and coul
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Hayley
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sometimes for whatever reason a book does not get a lot of exposure. I was disappointed to see only 71 ratings for this book so far. It is quintessentially Australian and will resonate with anyone that has an understanding as to how incredibly hard it is to be a dairy farmer. Living only within an hour of where the story first takes place and being a farmer myself I found many of the instances of hardship relatable.

A story told with humour, insight and sadness this story is bound to become an A
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Sarah
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly original, uniquely Australian, Taking Tom Murray Home is a novel that you could recommend to anyone who loves a good story well told.
It’s both timely and timeless in it's subject matter of the tough reality of farming life in Australia and the never ending bad behaviour of the banks. But it's the characters who are so endearing that stay with you, and you'll become their biggest cheerleaders on their incredible journey . Destined to be an Australian classic, and it would make a brilli
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Michelle Bansen
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of those rare books that will make you laugh and cry in good measure, but leaves you feeling hopeful that ultimately we can say and do the the right thing at the right time and that coming together in times of tragedy can bring out the best in people. It's an Australian story that shouts out to the spirit of the bush, the hardship but also the resilience of those living on the land. Told with dry wit and humor, it is a story about grief, challenging authority, growing up, about commu ...more
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Tim (TJ) Slee is an Australian author who was winner of the 2018 HarperCollins Banjo Prize for Australian Fiction and of the 2016 US Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize for fiction. He is also a past winner of the Allen & Unwin INK prize for short fiction.

He is now signed with HarperCollins and his novel TAKING TOM MURRAY HOME was released in August 2019. In December 2019 it was longlisted for the Au
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