Boy Swallows Universe
The best book I read this decade. -Sharon Van Etten in Rolling Stone
"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 in 1980s Australia, named one of the best literary fiction titles of 2019 by Library Journal.
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.--USA Today
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About the Author
Trent Dalton writes for the award-winning The Weekend Australian Magazine. A former assistant editor of The Courier-Mail, he has won a Walkley, been a four-time winner of the national News Awards Feature Journalist of the Year Award, and was named Queensland Journalist of the Year at the 2011 Clarion Awards for excellence in Queensland media. His writing includes several short and feature-length film screenplays. His latest feature film screenplay, Home, is a love story inspired by his non-fiction collection Detours: Stories from the Street (2011), the culmination of three months immersed in Brisbane's homeless community, the proceeds of which went back to the 20 people featured within its pages. His journalism has twice been nominated for a United Nations of Australia Media Peace Award, and his debut novel Boy Swallows Universe was published in 2018.
He was nominated for a 2010 AFI Best Short Fiction screenplay award for his latest film, Glenn Owen Dodds, starring David Wenham. The film won the prestigious International Prix Canal award at the world's largest short film festival, The Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. Dalton's debut feature film screenplay, In the Silence, is currently in production.
Trent also hosted the ABC Conversations show while Richard Fidler was on a Churchill Fellowship.
"An astonishing achievement. Dalton is a breath of fresh air--raw, honest, funny, moving, he has created a novel of the most surprising and addictive nature. Unputdownable."--David Wenham
"Joyous. Simply joyous. I hugged myself as I read it. My heart raced, swelled, burst; my eyes leaked tears; my stomach ached from laughter. Boy Swallows Universe is--I can't think of a word more apt--magical. This vibrant, vital, altogether miraculous coming-of-age novel marks the debut of an exquisitely gifted storyteller. . . and what's more, it's transformative: After reading Trent Dalton's book, you won't be the same as you were before."--A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window
"An insightful coming-of-age novel."--Book Riot
"A wonderful surprise: sharp as a drawer full of knives in terms of subject matter; unrepentantly joyous in its child's-eye view of the world; the best literary debut in a month of Sundays."--The Weekend Australian
"A captivating and quirky life story that leads the reader on an intense and rewarding journey; highly recommended."--Library Journal (starred review)
"At times Boy Swallows Universe will grip your attention and then break your heart. It is a story of love, crime, and hope. It is written with love and told with joy. Trent Dalton is a powerful new voice in fiction."--Washington Book Review
"A marvelously plot-rich novel, which...is filled with beautifully lyric prose....Exceptional."--Booklist (starred review)
"A splashy, profane, and witty debut."--USA Today
"An electric novel. . . . a lively, funny affirmation of the human instinct for survival."--The Times (London)
"Extraordinary and beautiful storytelling."--The Guardian