Author(s): Patrick Holland
Grey’s mother dies giving birth to his sister Irene and he prays that she will be returned to him so he might protect her from the world as his father did not. This prayer, Grey believes is answered in his sister Irene. He becomes obsessed with protecting her purity and innocence while befriending the wild boys of the small town of Mary Smokes − horse-handlers and fox hunters and part-time timber workers – members of a small, vanishing tribe who find themselves caught between an old relationship with place and a new one that is exemplified by the highway that threatens their town. The Mary Smokes Boys is heart-rending and unforgettable, a suspenseful story of horse thieves and broken promises, of love and tragedy, of the fragility and grace of small town life and how one fateful moment can forever alter the course of our lives.
Longlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award
'The Mary Smokes Boys is a gem. The writing is absolutely terrific and the characters distinct and deftly revealed. And the story is a heart wrecker.’ Barry Lopez, Winner of the American Book Award ‘Patrick Holland's beautiful, beautiful novel is a tale that transports you through its realisation of place and its genuinely affecting story of love (for brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers). And yes, for a language as pure and magical as I have read in a long time … A major work.’ Martin Shaw, Readings Newsletter ‘One of those books, one of those straight-to-the-heart, life-changing books.’ Krissy Kneen, author of Affection ‘Barely a scene or image is wasted ... He weaves Hemingway's blunt sentences and carved dialogue with the old fashioned storytelling of a folk tale imbued with the dark romance of a Nick Cave ballad.’ Jo Case, The Age