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Decision and Dilemma/Harper, P. R./Paper/0958079978/S056-B1
Described by Syntax magazine as 'a real page turner, guaranteed to hold your interest until the very end', this extraordinary novel paces through the corridors of power, opening doors of perception onto vistas traditionally, clouded with rumour.
Harper's tale follows the lives of key players involved with the general switch, in the eighties, from union power to its total antithesis - the Labor Party at the time being more concerned with luring financial support from business to secure their return at the election, than enacting a socialist agenda.
Harper's prime minister is so preoccupied with his libido and its many temptresses and repercussions: the captain was barely at the helm. Harper's characters are seductively convincing and weave an intricate tapestry of subplots as they change from suffering the throes of their mortality to evolve more compassionate natures, or they die in the act of self-preservation. The author's dexterity in the craft of fiction writing is quite extraordinary in a first novel. The reader is left glowing with the warmth of personality that was projected into this novel's lovingly detailed creation.
While his characters are readily identifiable in modern Australian history, they also have a fictional life uniquely theirs. There are no winners or losers in the ultimate analysis, only those who have given their lives to caring or who have become necessary recipients of charity. Behind the public masks of credulity, his characters are both saddened and galvanised by the moral depravity they so unthinkingly enter into.