Winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize and Australian Book Industry Awards, Book of the Year.
After a childhood of poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William Thornhill is transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and children in tow, he arrives in a harsh land that feels at first like a death sentence. But among the convicts there is a whisper that freedom can be bought, an opportunity to start afresh. As Thornhill stakes his claim on a patch of ground by the Hawkesbury River, the battle lines between the old and new inhabitants are drawn.
Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a groundbreaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s finest writers. She won the Orange Prize in 2001 for The Idea of Perfection. The Secret River, published in more than twenty countries, was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was shortlisted for both the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Man Booker Prize. The Lieutenant was shortlisted for the New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australian Premiers’ Awards. kategrenville.com
‘There is no doubt Grenville is one of our greatest writers…A book everyone should read. It is evocative, gracefully written, terrible and confronting. And it has resonance for every Australian.’ Sunday Mail
‘The Secret River is fabulous historical fiction, a rich and challenging re-imagining of familiar territory…a riveting, dramatic exercise in understanding.’ Weekend Australian
‘The Secret River is a wonderful novel that will change the way we think about our past…I couldn’t put it down.’ Diana Gribble, Reader
‘…a powerful, highly credible account of how a limited man of good instincts becomes involved in enormity and atrocity.’ Peter Craven, Age
‘Because its focus is human and experiential The Secret River navigates a new course through the history wars: it is a captivating, beautifully written exercise in understanding.’ Limelight
‘Kate Grenville’s The Secret River stands out as a work of sustained power and imagination, of poetry and insight. No truer piece of fiction has been written about the Australian past.’ Peter Temple, Weekend Australian
‘Splendidly paced, passionate and disturbing.’ Salley Vickers, The Times UK
‘An outstanding study of cultures in collision…chilling, meticulous account of the sorrows and evils of colonialism.’ Saturday Guardian UK
‘A vivid and moving protrayal of poverty, struggle and the search for peace.’ Independent
‘…Grenville’s magnificent novel [is] an unflinching exploration of modern Australia’s origins.’ New Yorker
‘The Secret River is a masterwork, a book that transcends historical fiction and becomes something deeply contemporary and pressing.’ Chicago Tribune
‘Grenville’s powerful telling of this story is so moving, so exciting, that you’re barely aware of how heavy and profound its meaning is until you reach the end in a moment of stunned sadness.’ Washington Post