The controller stood back.
‘Right,’ he said. ‘Spin ’em!’
The man flipped the piece of wood and the coins spun up into the air above his head and dropped down on to the carpet.
There was silence.
Wake in Fright tells the tale of John Grant’s journey into an alcoholic, sexual and spiritual nightmare. It is the original and the greatest outback horror story. Bundanyabba and its citizens will forever haunt its readers.
Kenneth Cook was born in Sydney. Wake in Fright, which drew on his time as a journalist in Broken Hill, was first published in 1961 when Cook was thirty-two. It was published in England and America, translated into several languages, and a prescribed text in schools. Cook wrote twenty-one books in a variety of genres, and was well known in film circles as a scriptwriter and independent film-maker. He died in 1987 at the age of fifty-seven.
‘Wake in Fright deserves its status as a modern classic. Cook’s prose is masterful and the story is gripping from the first page to the last.’ M.J. Hyland
‘A classic novel which became a classic film. The Outback without the sentimental bulldust. Australia without the sugar coating.’ Robert Drewe
‘A true dark classic of Australian literature.’ J.M. Coetzee
‘Wake in Fright is a classic of the ugly side of Menzies’ Australia, its brutality, its drunkenness, its anxiety to crush all sensibility. All of this is harrowingly reacorded —the destruction of a young soul fresh to Australia—in Kenneth Cook’s remarkable novel.’ Thomas Keneally