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Jack Rivers and ME
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Set in the small Australian town of Boomeroo in the early 1950s, this first novel focuses on five-year-old Peanut DeLarue, his family and his imaginary friend, Jack Rivers. But this is no children's talethe narrative is both raucous and profane. Radley, who was 17 when he wrote this six years ago, introduces drunks, sex-starved widows and an amusingly vulgar group of teenagers, including Peanut's sister Connie. The plot, such as it is, involves weaning Peanut from Jack before he starts school. But this rambling story's strength is in its language, an amalgam of Australian and American slang (Peanut's father is a former G.I.) that is always entertaining and often enchanting. This is the first of a trilogy, the second part of which will be published in the U.S. later this year. (March)

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