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Art of the Engine Driver/Carroll, Steve/Paper/073227057X/S010-A
The Art of the Engine Driver is the story of one evening in the lives of the residents of a new outer Melbourne suburb. As a mighty steam train leaves Spencer Street Station on its haul to Sydney, a family of three – Vic, Rita and their son Michael are walking down their street to an engagement party. George Bedser, a shipbuilder from Liverpool, is celebrating the engagement of his daughter, Patsy. He has no family here and has invited the whole street to the party. Vic is an engine driver, looking to be like his hero Paddy Ryan and become the master of the smooth ride.
As the neighbours walk to the party using a mixture of description and internal monologue – we hear their stories and are drawn into the lives of a bully, a drunk, a restless young girl and a happy family man. On this hot summer's night the old and the new, diesel and steam, town and country all collide and nobody is left unaffected.
This is a distinctly Australian novel in the spirit of Tim Winton and Robert Drewe, a luminous and evocative tale of ordinary suburban lives with an extraordinary power and depth.