Jennifer (JC-S)'s Reviews > Tiger Men

Tiger Men by Judy Nunn
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bookshelves: australian-womens-writers-challenge

‘Van Diemen’s Land was a place of profound contradiction.’

Starting in Van Diemen’s Land in 1853 (known as Tasmania since 1856), this novel spans three generations of men. And in the time that they and their families established themselves, the Tasmanian Tiger was hunted to extinction. Many of these men arrived in Van Diemen’s Land as convicts, others were drawn to Tasmania in order to make their fortunes. Tasmania in the 19th century was full of opportunity for many: an abundance of natural resources; cheap labour and enterprise.

The novel has three separate parts: the first part starts in 1853, the second part in 1895 and the third part in 1914. In the first part of the novel, the people who’ve found themselves in Tasmania seek to establish themselves in new lives. During the second part, which largely coincides with Tasmania’s golden age, people are keen to make their fortunes. And in the third part, the impact of the Great War is felt.

There are a large number of characters in this novel, some are more likeable than others, each has a part to play in the story as it unfolds. While I enjoyed this novel, as I enjoy most multi-generational historical sagas, it was the middle part of the novel (from 1895) which most held my attention. This is the kind of novel that always has me reaching for history books, to learn more about the island on which I spent the first (almost) 18 years of my life. Ms Nunn’s novel brings colonial Tasmania to life, and reminds me of the sacrifice made during the Great War when nearly 3,000 of the 15,485 Tasmanian men who enlisted were killed, and many more were injured. It wasn’t until 1914 that the population of Tasmania reached 200,000.

If you are interested in historical fiction set in Tasmania, and like the challenge of multi-generational family sagas, then I recommend this novel.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Reading Progress

June 20, 2016 – Started Reading
June 20, 2016 – Shelved
June 20, 2016 – Shelved as: australian-womens-writers-challenge
June 27, 2016 – Finished Reading

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