Boy Swallows Universe

Boy Swallows Universe

A Novel

Book - 2019
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, [2019]
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780062898104
Branch Call Number: DAL
Characteristics: 452 pages ; 24 cm


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Aug 24, 2019

Colourful, lively, funny, quite brilliant on several levels but way too long. The first 200 pages require persistence, but the slog is worth it,

DCLadults Apr 24, 2019

A New & Noteworthy pick. This is no typical coming-of-age story. Eli’s mother is in jail, his older genius brother is a selective mute, and his best friend is an elderly felon.

Mar 27, 2019

This is a gritty, powerful story about Eli and August Bell. They grow up in Brisbane in the midst of the drug trade. Their babysitter is a 70-something ex-convict who was legendary for his alleged crime and escape. Two revelations tie the book together: 1) The phrase "your end is a dead blue wren" and 2) The name Caitlyn Spies. These two items are revealed written in the air by older brother Gus. Eli tells us the story of how everything comes together in the ocean of the universe. In this magical coming of age story, a red phone gives Eli hope and encourages him to persevere in bringing his family back together and pursuing his dream career in journalism. Readers who enjoyed the recently released "Bridge of Clay" will find this appealing.

Dec 20, 2018

This is a phenomenally funny story! Anyone who grew up or lived in Brisbane in the 80s will get this book. Trent Dalton, a highly acclaimed journalist with the Courier Mail and the Australian and known for his beautifully written long pieces, is a master storyteller and a fresh and exciting new voice in Australian fiction.

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