Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress.
Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother, falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.
And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.
'If we see a more entertaining, heartfelt piece of Australian literature in the next 12 months, it will be a rare year indeed - an Australian To Kill a Mockingbird.' - The Monthly
'It's genius.' - West Australian
'. impossible to put down . There's tension, injustice, young love, hypocrisy . and, above all, the certainty that Silvey has planted himself in the landscape as one of our finest storytellers.' - Australian Women's Weekly
'Jasper Jones confronts inhumanity and racism, as the stories of Mark Twain and Harper Lee did. Silvey's voice is distinctive: astute, witty, angry, understanding and self-assured.' - Weekend Australian
'Jasper Jones is a riveting tale, studded with laugh-out-loud and life-affirming moments yet underpinned by a clear-eyed examination of human weaknesses and misdemeanours.' - Adelaide Advertiser
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We want to press Jasper Jones into all our friends’ hands! When local bad boy Jasper appears at Charlie’s window seeking help, our hero is reluctantly caught up in events that reveal the dark prejudices of his small town. Along the way, Charlie finds courage, falls in love and proves himself wise beyond his years. Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, West Australian novelist/musician Craig Silvey's novel is an arresting portrait of a ‘60s mining town peopled with diverse, multifaceted characters. We love this story for its life-affirming moments and the humourous interactions between Charlie and his friends and family.
Australian author Silvey wears his influences (notably To Kill a Mockingbird) a little too obviously on his sleeve in a novel about crime, race, and growing up in a 1960s Australian mining town. Charlie, 13, is woken up on a hot summer night by teenage outcast Jasper, who wants to show him something secret. That secret turns out to be the dead body of Laura Wishart, Jasper's occasional paramour and the older sister of Charlie's own crush, Eliza. The boys, assuming that Jasper will be blamed, hide the body, and Laura's disappearance combines with the boys' guilt and lies to create an ongoing spiral of stress. The town of Corrigan is rife with racism, which is directed mainly at the half-aboriginal Jasper and Charlie's Vietnamese best friend, Jeffrey. The banter between Jeffrey and Charlie drives the novel's lighter scenes, but can distract, feeling more like Tarantinoesque pop culture asides than anything else. Still, when Silvey, making his U.S. debut, focuses on the town's ugly underbelly, as well as the troubles in Charlie's family, the novel is gripping enough to overcome its weaknesses. Ages 12 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great read! Recommended!
I really thoroughly enjoyed this book. I picked it for our book club read and everyone liked it- which is something because we rarely all agree!
It's kind of an Aussie To Kill a Mockingbird in parts- can definitely see the inspiration but I think it works for the Australian context.
As a history teacher I enjoyed the portrayal of 1960s Australia too: race relations, Aboriginal relations, Vietnamese refugees, small town life.
It does feature a mystery but it's more a snapshot life and society in Australia at this time.
We have a winner!
The ring of truth from whoah to go. It was all I could do to make this last three sittings. Tim Winton, eat your heart out!
This one of my favourite books of all time. Such a likeable main character and a compelling story.