Parade | Want to travel Australia without packing a bag? Here’s how

PARADE’S ears pricked up when there was a discussion on the radio this week about the greatest Australian novels. When it became clear that the discussion was about the greatest Australian novels of this century, however, Parade must admit that he lost a bit of interest – because his favourites were written well before the year 2000. A good book has a strong sense of place, so Parade would like to offer the following suggestions for those who want to do a quick trip around Australia without the inconvenience of having to leave home. For Brisbane (at least in the first part of the book), try the late Andrew McGahan’s 1988, which will raise a sweat in readers even in the middle of a Bathurst winter. For Perth, you can’t go past Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, where the Swan River is as important as any of the human characters. For Darwin, immerse yourself in Peter Goldsworthy’s Maestro (which was one of Parade’s HSC books at Stannies). The same author’s Everything I Knew will put you deep in rural coastal South Australia. For Melbourne (and this is a bit of a left-field choice), Parade would recommend journalist Jill Stark’s High Sobriety, which details her year off the grog in the Victorian capital. Jane Harper provides the only two of Parade’s recommendations that were published this century. Her bestseller The Dry is set in a small town that could be anywhere in struggling rural Australia and her most recent book The Lost Man is such an evocative depiction of life in Queensland’s Channel Country that you’ll feel like you have to shake the red dust out of your clothes. Open a page and be transported. READ ALSO: Former Bathurst woman Petronella McGovern releases her psychological thriller IN OTHER NEWS IN THE REGION: Lone Star tipped to set up in the Orange CBD Backflip kills hopes of a referendum on popularly-elected mayor PARADE read a fascinating article the other day about people in Victoria (where there is no container deposit scheme) taking vehicles full of bottles and cans over the Murray to NSW (where there is such a scheme) and cashing them in. It was a reminder to Parade that almost 120 years after Federation, Australia remains a series of states following their own rules.

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