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Such Is Life

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Such Is Life

Joseph Furphy

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A classic of the Australian outback, Such Is Life is the splendidly farcical, tragical reminiscences of Tom Collins, philosopher and rogue. As Tom drives his team across the plains of the Riverina and Northern Victoria, he gets wildly entagled in the fate of others – like Rory O’Halloran, the two Alfs (Nosey and Warrigal), Mrs Beaudesart and Hungry Buckley of Baroona – recreating the humour, the pathos, the irony he knew as part of life in the bush. His is that tough-talking, law-dodging world of the 1880s, where the swagmen and bullockies slept out under the stars with ‘grandeur, peace and purity above; squalor, worry and profanity below. These inspired yarns, ‘fatally goverened by an inveterate truthfulness’, are woven into one of the greatest books of Australian literature, combining a genius for story-telling with a wry wit and a deep feeling for the harsh sun-baked land and the people who worked it.

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