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The Dickens Boy

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529345100

Price: £8.99

ON SALE: 29th April 2021

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

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By the Booker-winning author of Schindler’s Ark, a vibrant novel about Charles Dickens’ son and his little-known adventures in the Australian Outback.

In 1868, Charles Dickens dispatches his youngest child, sixteen-year-old Edward, to Australia.

Posted to a remote sheep station in New South Wales, Edward discovers that his father’s fame has reached even there, as has the gossip about his father’s scandalous liaison with an actress. Amid colonists, ex-convicts, local tribespeople and a handful of eligible young women, Edward strives to be his own man – and keep secret the fact that he’s read none of his father’s novels.

Conjuring up a life of sheep-droving, horse-racing and cricket tournaments in a community riven with tensions and prejudice, the story of Edward’s adventures also affords an intimate portrait of Dickens’ himself.

This vivacious novel is classic Keneally: historical figures and events re-imagined with verve, humour and compassion.


An engrossing and transporting read
Nathan Brooker, Financial Times
An ingenious, hilarious novel . . . Keneally does what he does so well: he plucks people from the pages of history and gives them emotional lives
The Australian
Keneally is a master at weaving historical figures and events into compelling works of fiction and so he does with his new book
Brisbane News
Rewarding terrain for a much-loved novelist
A dashing, crisply written book
Saturday Paper
Tender and wry as the novel is, it has a tough-minded postcolonial core . . . Keneally's other life as a historian informs every page; his is an antique footnote swelled up to life-size
Australian Book Review
The Dickens Boy . . . is energetic, even exuberant. It is in love with the abundance of life it negotiates.
The Sydney Morning Herald
[A] genial, wry recreation of [Edward Dickens'] time in remote New South Wales
Daily Mail
A bustling picaresque tale . . . there are some unforgettably vivid scenes in this rompy but emotive story of bruised youth.
Anthony Cummins, Mail on Sunday
[An] absorbing novel . . . Plorn himself is a joy
Antonia Senior, The Times
Keneally has brought off a notable double: a delightful and continuously interesting portrayal of mid-19th century life in the rolling sheep pastures of New South Wales and an acute and persuasive examination of the mystery that Charles Dickens still presents, and of the enduring fascination he exerts over us today.
Alan Massie, Scotsman
A vibrant novel
Woman & Home