PRIZE OF THE WEEK
➤ Holding is British comedian and presenter Graham Norton’s debut novel, exploring the dark secrets of a small Irish village.
The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled.
Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight, mother-of-two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.
So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke — a former love of both Brid and Evelyn — the village’s dark past begins to unravel.
As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.
Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad, Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters and explore, with searing honesty, the complexities and contradictions that make us human.
Holding by Graham Norton is published by Hachette Australia, RRP $32.99. ➤ Author of A Sunburnt Childhood Toni Tapp Coutts grew up on the massive Killarney Station, where her stepfather, Bill Tapp, was a cattle king.
But there was no ‘big house’ here — Toni did not grow up in a large homestead. She lived in a shack that had no electricity and no running water.
The oppressive climate of the Territory, either wet or dry, tested everyone. Fish were known to rain from the sky and sometimes good men drank too much and drowned trying to cross swollen rivers.
Toni grew up with the Aboriginal people who lived and worked on the station, and got into scrapes with her everincreasing number of siblings.
She loved where she grew up — she was happy on the land with her friends and family, observing the many characters who made up the community on Killarney. When she was sent to boarding school, all she wanted to do was go back to the land she loved, despite the fact her parents’ marriage was struggling as Bill Tapp succumbed to drink and June Tapp refused to go under with him.
Toni’s love of the natural world and people alike has resulted in a tender portrait of a life that many people would consider tough. She brings vividly to the page a story seldom seen: a Territory childhood, with all its colour, characters and contradictions.
A Sunburnt Childhood by Toni Tapp Coutts is published by Hachette Australia, RRP $19.99.
Win! Win! Win! To win these books, send your name, address and a daytime phone number to Country Life ‘Farm’ Competition, PO Box 8000, Shepparton, 3632 by Wednesday, March 8.