Craig Sherborne

Muck

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Winner, 2008 Queensland Premier's Literary Awards

The award-winning sequel to the acclaimed memoir Hoi Polloi.

The dynasty has started with my father as the founding father and me his only son, the founding son. He looks forward to the day when he can watch his grandchildren out there in the clover-covered paddocks frolicking among the cowpats. Playing with a pony, getting stung by bees. The most wholesome activities in the world.

With their only son on the brink of adolescence, the nouveaux-riches Sherbornes move away from the city to start a new, gentrified existence on a 300-acre farm – or “estate” – in Taonga, New Zealand. But life on the farm is anything but wholesome. Sherborne evokes his family’s slide into madness through a series of unforgettable, hilarious portraits: of “Feet,” his once-glamorous mother, now addled with snobbery, paranoia, and mental illness; of “The Duke,” his uncomprehending, sporadically violent father; and of himself, the “Lord Muck” of the title, at once helpless victim and ruthless agent of their undoing, who in the end must decide whether he can save his family.

Clear-sighted, lyrical, and marvellously funny, Muck is a heart-rending memoir of family discord and an exquisite story of a young artist in search of a self.

‘Craig Sherborne’s daring, innovative prose is as exhilarating as his disciplined mastery of it is humbling. In service to an unnervingly sharp intelligence, it enlivens us to the comedy, the pathos, the dignity and the pain of life, as his characters live it. Muck is a masterpiece.’ —Raimond Gaita

‘Mordantly true to life … One of the most interesting autobiographical projects on the go.’ —J.M. Coetzee

‘Excellent – it disturbs me to admit that Craig Sherborne goes deeper than the rest of us into the territory of impressionable immaturity. He writes beautifully, especially when the material is not beautiful at all. He can make the cruel truth poetic.’ —Clive James

‘A work of searing originality and part of an ongoing masterpiece.’ —Peter Craven, the Monthly

Craig Sherborne’s books include The Amateur Science of Love, Bullion and Necessary Evil. His memoir Hoi Polloi was shortlisted for two literary awards, and its sequel, Muck, won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Sherborne’s journalism and poetry have appeared in most of Australia’s leading literary journals and anthologies.
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229 printed pages
Original publication
2011

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