Cover image for Boy swallows universe : a novel / Trent Dalton.
Title:
Boy swallows universe : a novel / Trent Dalton.
ISBN:
9780062898104
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]

©2019
Physical Description:
452 pages ; 24 cm
Abstract:
Eli Bell's life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli's life is Slim--a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes--who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother. Exiled far from the rest of the world in Darra, a seedy suburb populated by Polish and Vietnamese refugees, this twelve-year-old boy with an old soul and an adult mind is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli's path--most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane's legendary drug dealer. But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom--all before starting high school. A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be. Powerful and kinetic, Trent Dalton's debut is sure to be one of the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novels you will experience.
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Summary

Summary

"Boy Swallows Universe hypnotizes you with wonder, and then hammers you with heartbreak. . . . Eli's remarkably poetic voice and his astonishingly open heart take the day. They enable him to carve out the best of what's possible from the worst of what is, which is the miracle that makes this novel marvelous." -Washington Post

A "thrilling" (New York Times Book Review) novel of love, crime, magic, fate and a boy's coming of age, set in 1980s Australia and infused with the originality, charm, pathos, and heart of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Eli Bell's life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli's life is Slim--a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes--who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother.

Exiled far from the rest of the world in Darra, a neglected suburb populated by Polish and Vietnamese refugees, this twelve-year-old boy with an old soul and an adult mind is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli's path--most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane's legendary drug dealer.

But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom--all before starting high school.

A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be. Powerful and kinetic, Trent Dalton's debut is sure to be one of the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novels you will experience.


Author Notes

Trent Dalton is the author of Beatiing the Odds which made the Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing 2015 shortlist. His most recent book is entitled Boy Swallows Universe (June 2018)

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dalton's splashy, stellar debut makes the typical coming-of-age novel look bland by comparison. The novel tracks bright, confused young narrator Eli as he moves through the ages of 12 to 19 in the 1980s in a seedy suburb of Brisbane. Eli's best friends are his older brother, August, an electively mute genius with premonitions of the future, and former felon Slim, his babysitter and a notorious, frequent escapee from a heavily guarded prison. Eli loves his parents, but they're a mess: his mom and step-dad deal heroin, and his dad is a depressed, panic-stricken alcoholic. The novel follows Eli as he nearly gets caught up in dealing drugs himself, discovers a secret room with a mysterious red telephone in his house, breaks into prison to wish his incarcerated mom a merry Christmas, and avenges the wrongs done to his family-all while pursuing his dream of becoming a journalist. In less adept hands, these antics might descend into whimsy, but Dalton's broadly observant eye, ability to temper pathos with humor, and thorough understanding of the mechanics of plot prevent the novel from breaking into sparkling pieces. The author shapes Eli into an appealingly credible hero capable of shaping a future for himself despite a background that doesn't bode well for him. This is an outstanding debut. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.