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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
December Boys/Noonan, Michae/Paper/0702235415/S018-F
University of Queensland Press
They are known as the "December boys" because all of them - Chocker (who tells the story, Fido, Spark, Misty and Maps - are thought to have been born in that month. And one December in the late 1930s they leave their Catholic orphanage in the dusty outback to spend the Christmas holidays at the seaside settlement of Captain's Folly, staying with the eccentric Mr and Mrs McAnsh, who are partial to pumpkin wine.
Wearing bathing costumes made from four-bags dyed black, the boys meet the ocean for the first time and are soon racing through the sandhills to plunge in the surf. But it is Teresa, the young wife of Fearless Foley, former stunt rider on the Wall of Death, who becomes the focus of those holidays, setting off intense ribaldry and competition between the boys which leads to a totally unexpected ending.
The December Boys is a classic tale of an unforgettable summer beside the Pacific Ocean. First published in 1963, it was commended in the Miles Franklin Award.