Craig Sherborne

Hoi Polloi

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The hilariously compelling memoir that was hailed as an instant classic.

Hoi Polloi recounts a childhood spent on racetracks and in bars, as the author’s parents struggle to climb the social ladder. It begins in 1968 in the small town of Heritage, New Zealand. Living above the bar of his family’s hotel, the young Craig is exposed to violence, drinking and murky racial politics. His parents, whom Sherborne thinks of as “Winks” and “Heels” in his eccentric personal language, decide to sell the hotel and move to Sydney, Australia – which they imagine as New Zealand’s “England”, a place of boundless wealth, prestige and social opportunities.

Once in Sydney, the family begins a love affair with the racing scene. Written with extraordinary sympathy and verve, Hoi Polloi is the portrait of an extraordinary childhood – brutal, poignant and unforgettable.

‘I read the first sentence and then pushed the day’s work aside and sat down to read it all. I haven’t come across such a lively and gripping memoir in a long time.’ —Hilary Mantel

‘A scalding memoir, funny, fast-moving, shot through with a fierce pathos.’ —Helen Garner

‘Craig Sherborne has written one of the great Australian memoirs … Hoi Polloi is a pure comic outrage of a book that will keep you wide-eyed with wonder way past dawn.’ —Peter Craven

‘A lyrical, candid memoir … Sherborne’s parents are reanimated as tragi-comic grotesques, irresistibly awful, touchingly ludicrous, mordantly sensitive and painfully funny’ —the Times

‘A brilliant, searing memoir and a major new work of life writing.’ —David McCooey, Australian Book Review

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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199 printed pages
Original publication


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