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'The Fortunes of Richard Mahony deserves the accolade of the Great Australian Novel' - Peter Craven
A superb, sprawling trilogy of a family fortune won and lost in gold-rush Australia. The Fortunes of Richard Mahony is Australia's most significant nineteenth-century work. It tells the story of Richard Mahony, loosely based on the author's own father, and his rise and tragic fall in Australia's gold rush.
All three volumes - Australia Felix, The Way Home and Ultima Thule - are included here. The trilogy stands as one of the great portraits of the Australian canon - and a vivid depiction of the migrant experience.
'A work of huge ambition, power, pity and unflinching honesty' - The Age
'The Fortunes of Richard Mahony is an all but lost continent of a book. It is a novel about poverty and worldly failure, and the grind and nightmare of a life that is ruled by money, which does its best to ride roughshod over every impulse towards simplicity and delicacy and truth. It is a book written in defiance of materialism and complacency, full of hatred of the vision of Australia summed up by James McAuley's words: "The people are kindly with nothing inside them."' - Sydney Morning Herald
'The Fortunes of Richard Mahony is a masterpiece, a great novel. Reading it was one of the most fulfilling literary experiences I've ever had.' - Angela Meyer, LiteraryMinded
'One of the greatest novels in the English language.' - William Heinemann
'More than any other novel in our literature, more than Voss, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony deserves the accolade of the Great Australian Novel...it is a mighty and moving work, this bursting at the seams anti-epic to the muse of a vanity which sees every golden bowl broken and every silver cord loosed.' - Peter Craven
About the author
'Henry Handel Richardson' was the pen-name of Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson, who was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1870. Her father was a medical graduate of Edinburgh University, and her mother was the daughter of a Leicester solicitor; they married after migrating to Australia during the Victorian goldrushes. After her father's death in 1879, her mother worked as a postmistress in country towns, but later she was able to take Ethel and her sister Lilian to Europe, to study music at Leipzig. Ethel, who became a skilled pianist, married John George Robertson, a science graduate turned philologist. Robertson was appointed Professor of German and Scandinavian Languages and Literatures at London University in 1903, where he became one of the foremost scholars of his day. By this time Ethel had begun to write, having given up all thought of a musical career. Her first novel, Maurice Guest, was published in 1908 and had a number of imitators. Her second, The Getting of Wisdom, published in 1910 was described by H. G. Wells as the best school story he knew. Her most important work was The Fortunes of Richard Mahony, published in three volumes, comprising Australia Felix, The Way Home and Ultima Thule, from 1917 to 1929.