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Praise is an utterly frank and darkly humorous novel about being young in the Australia of the 1990s. A time when the dole was easier to get than a job, when heroin was better known than ecstasy, and when ambition was the dirtiest of words. A time when, for two hopeless souls, sex and dependence were the only lifelines.
'McGahan's book is a bracing slap in the face to conventional platitudes and hypocrisies.' - The Australian
'Praise is one of those books that takes a hefty bite out of a piece of subject matter, chews it to a pulp and then spits it out.' - Peter Craven
'A tour de force... revelation of life in the slow lane of drugs and sex and alcohol.' - The Weekend Australian
Winner of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in the Pacific Region. Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature and the Canada-Australia Literary Award.
it. Then she set back admiringly. ‘Isn’t that sweet?’ ‘You are not going to photograph it.’ ‘But you could just leave it like that. It doesn’t even have to be erect.’ ‘No!’ ‘All right, all right.’ She tucked it away and pulled the zip halfway back up. She took three more shots. Then she put the lens cap on and crawled up over me. ‘That has got me horny.’ We kissed for a few moments, then between us we tugged my jeans off and she lifted her skirt. She wasn’t wearing any underwear either. She
yard, then walked up the back steps into the hall. It was getting close to midnight. Most of the doors were open. The old men were arm wrestling in one of the rooms. I looked in. Two of them were clasped fist to fist on the double bed. Three or four others were watching on, screaming. It was all hatred and need. ‘Gordon!’ they yelled, ‘Gordon get in here!’ They were eyeing off the six pack I was carrying. I declined. I was in a thoughtful mood. I was unemployed again, there were life decisions
brain. It took me time. And then sometimes you just didn’t get the letters, there was nothing you could do. And sometimes they fell into place like a dream. Luck was the real decider. Luck was what it all came down to. Scrabble was exactly like life. And when luck was on your side, when it was running your way, then it was a wilder and richer thing than all the hard work in the world could ever be. Cynthia knew it. I knew it. For the moment, we had it on our side. We were riding it, right
it go? How bad is it this time? She pulled on her cigarette, stared at the ceiling. ‘It’s cancer.’ I sat on the bed. ‘Cancer?’ ‘Cancer. I have to have an operation. They want to burn it out.’ ‘They can burn it out?’ ‘Yes. They said it was in a very, very early stage. They said they were sure they can stop it.’ ‘Well, that’s pretty good.’ ‘Sure.’ She was pulling on the cigarette, staring at the walls. I said, ‘How serious is the operation?’ ‘I’ll be in for two or three days. They knock
‘That’s pretty bad,’ I told him. He nodded. He seemed sad. ‘You aren’t working today?’ he asked. ‘No. I quit. Remember?’ ‘Aaah. So you did. You treat that girl nice, okay.’ ‘I will.’ ‘Don’t hit her. There’s too much of that.’ ‘I won’t.’ And so we watched TV. SIX Next day I drove over to the Capital Hotel. I found the manager out in the bottle shop. Nothing had changed much, except I didn’t recognise the boy working there. The manager’s name was Simon. He was twenty-two. He hadn’t been