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Wake In Fright: Text Classics

Wake In Fright: Text Classics [Kindle Edition]

Kenneth Cook , Peter Temple
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Wake in Fright tells the tale of John Grant's journey into an alcoholic, sexual and spiritual nightmare. It is the original and the greatest outback horror story. Bundanyabba and its citizens will forever haunt its readers.

This edition includes an introduction by Peter Temple and an afterword by David Stratton.

Wake in Fright was made into a film in 1971, arguably the greatest film ever made in Australia. It starred Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, and Jack Thompson in his first screen role. Lost for many years, the restored film was re-released to acclaim in 2009.

Kenneth Cook was born in Sydney in 1929. Wake in Fright was published in 1961 to high praise in New York and London, and launched Cook's writing career. Cook wrote twenty-one books in all, along with screenplays and scripts for radio and TV.

Peter Temple is one of Australia's finest writers. His novel Truth won the 2010 Miles Franklin Award and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award. Temple has written nine novels and has been published in more than twenty countries.

David Stratton is co-presenter of At the Movies on ABC television and film critic for the Australian. He has also served as a President of the International Critics Jury for the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals, written three books and is currently lecturing in Film History at the University of Sydney.

'It might be fifty years since the novel appeared yet it retains its freshness, its narrative still compels, and its bleak vision still disquiets...Cook can make us feel the heat, see the endless horizon, hear the sad singing on a little train as it traverses the monotonous plain.' Peter Temple, from the Introduction

'Wake in Fright deserves its status as a modern classic. Cook's prose is masterful and the story is gripping from the first page to the last.' M. J. Hyland

'A classic novel which became a classic film. The Outback without the sentimental bulldust. Australia without the sugar coating.' Robert Drewe

'Wake in Fright is a classic of the ugly side of Menzies' Australia, its brutality, its drunkenness, its anxiety to crush all sensibility. All of this is harrowingly reacorded - the destruction of a young soul fresh to Australia - in Kenneth Cook's remarkable novel.' Thomas Keneally

'A true dark classic of Australian literature.' J. M. Coetzee

'...a kind of outback Lord of the Flies...Written entirely from Grant's point of view, the prose is at first straightforward, the landscape and its people evoked simply and vividly. But later, as Grant descends into his own personal hell and finally to the depths of despair, the writing takes on the quality of a delirious dream. The concluding narrative twists will rock both Grant (and the reader) back on their heels.' Crime Time UK

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 306 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Text Publishing; reprint of 1961 edition (26 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #316,401 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dark night of the Australian soul 14 Mar 2014
By Rough Diamond TOP 500 REVIEWER
Wake in Fright is one of the great existential horror stories. It tells the tale of John Grant, a metropolitan Sydneysider working in a dead-end teaching job in an obscure and remote outback settlement. He longs for the city, the cool ocean, and the thin strip of civilisation between the Pacific and the hard, implacable wasteland in which he is marooned. The Christmas holidays offer him the chance of six weeks of sweet respite, but en route to the airstrip and home he must spend the night in the local hub of Bundanyabba - 'The Yabba' to its gnarled, laconic locals. Here, a chance encounter in a bar draws him into the hard-drinking, hard-gambling world of the Yabba by night, where he finds himself woefully out of his depth. He wakes up utterly broke, with an evil hangover, and with no way to buy his flight back to Sydney. He is a defenceless innocent, stranded, and completely at the mercy of the Yabba.

The next few days take Grant through successive circles of hell down into the dark, indifferent heart of the Australian outback. In this central section of the book, Kenneth Cook's prose takes on a hallucinatory energy. Grant stumbles through his nightmare in a haze of alcoholic confusion, with his rare moments of vivid clarity only heightening his disorientation and distress. Unable to escape from the Yabba, soon the only way out for Grant seems to be the rifle and the single bullet he's holding in his hand...

This is a powerful, taut and disturbing read. Deeply pessimistic about human nature, its central message seems to be that, beneath our veneer of civilisation, we're all only a couple of wrong turns away from brutal savagery and despair. Kenneth Cook tells his tale brilliantly, in a series of memorable set-pieces as dry and tough as the harsh Australian landscape he so compellingly evokes. Not for the fainthearted, but strongly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Masterpiece 22 Aug 2013
By David G. Lloyd - Published on
Wake in Fright is not just a classic of Australian Literature. It is a classic of Literature. Period.

Kenneth Cook unflinchingly presents the darkest corner of the Australian soul, specifically rural Australia, by introducing us to a world which can accurately be described as a downward spiral into Hell. Alcohol, gambling, squalor, cheapness, yearning, desperation, violence, hopelessness, apathy and self-destruction. This is the Australia most people don't wish to acknowledge (possibly because it's too close for comfort to the truth) but which Cook forces us to look at.

While many readers who encounter this novel are challenged, shocked and even hurt by what it reveals ... its intense power and honesty cannot be denied.

This is a must-read for every Australian, every literature buff and indeed every member of the human race.
5.0 out of 5 stars WAKE IN FRIGHT 25 Jun 2014
By wendles - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Wake in Fright
ONE of the most frightening books I have ever read--I was actually unable to read parts of the book and I can still remember vividily descriptions and how the one would feel in a similar situation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very depressing, but a fascinating read... 21 Jun 2014
By Thomas Duff - Published on
I was tipped to this Australian literary classic and decided to pick it up at the library. Wake in Fright by Kenneth Cook was written back in 1961, and it portrays one man's bleak and frightening experience when he wanders into Bundanyabba, a town in the desolate outback. What should be an overnight stay on his way to Sydney becomes a nightmare from which he never fully recovers.

Cook does an excellent job in painting the despair of the main character, John Grant, when he loses all his travel money in a gambling game. Without any money, contacts, or resources, he finds himself stranded in this small town with virtually no options to leave. The people he meets are... friendly, but they are a different breed, one given to killing and drinking as an essential part of their dull existence. Grant has to go along since they are his only means of food, drink, and lodging, but he quickly loses all sense of who and what he is.

Cook doesn't pull punches nor does he go for the happy ending. The story starts out grey and gets totally dark by the end. The hopelessness of Grant drips from every page, and the only question is how far he might descend before he hits rock bottom. Wake in Fright is a relatively quick read, and I can see why it's considered a classic. I now want to see the movie that was made based on the book, as I'm sure it'll add even more layers of depression onto the story.

I don't know that I'd consider this an "enjoyable" read, but it's well worth reading.

Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake in Fright - the different spin on it all 27 April 2014
By Phillip Kimber - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If is frightening to consider this great film with marvellous Australian character actors was lost, possibly not to be resurrected. That it has been presents to us a momentary experience in outback towns, in many respects how it would have been, and may still be. It isn't however the depressing place depicted. That is the experience of John the teacher. He was not ready for it, and it dished up exactly what it would to anyone. The outback then was still a place unruled and unruly, and yet the people achieved their own rapport, based around their own method of courtesy. If you didn't want to be there, it wouldn't suit you anyway.

This undoubted classic will resonate with anyone who visited or lived in the outback in the 1950s to the 1980s. Times and places now lost to a large degree.

So a history piece, but it wouldn't work at that role unless it was so well done. Acting, direction, the risk taken in production at the time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it 31 Dec 2013
By brenda - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Working class writing at it's best love it! Modern Dante if ever I've read one. The dusty rural circles of desert Hell! Just the Eagles sang you can check out any time you time you want but you can never leave!! Love it and the film is very authentic to the book. Spin chilling!! Read it if you dare!!
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