Boy Swallows Universe

Author(s): Trent Dalton

Fiction | Staff Picks

An utterly wonderful debut 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. The mind can take you anywhere you want to go. 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.

Review by Fantine;


'Eli Bell doesn't yet know what kind of man he'll be. He knows that there are good men and bad men, but how do you tell which is which? He thinks his step father is a good man, even though he deals heroin. His babysitter and best friend Slim is a good man, even though he was found guilty of murder. Everybody says philanthropist Tytus Broz who runs the prosthetic limb factory is a good man, but the chill that runs down Eli’s pure bone spine tells him otherwise. This book blew me away in such a wonderfully rare way, it crawled under my skin, clouded my thoughts and made me miss my bus stop. Trent Dalton has poured his soul into this book and with such vulnerability comes a perfectly unique writing style that transforms words into magic. My heart ached for Eli’s childhood of dreams and despair, he is a character that will stay with me for a very long time. My new favourite Australian fiction book, destined to become a classic'


- Fantine, Bookseller at Collins Moonee Ponds

$22.99(AUD)

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Product Information

Longlisted Dublin Literary Award 2020 Longlisted Miles Franklin 2019 Winner ABIA Book of the Year 2019 Winner ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2019 Winner Matt Richell New Writer of the Year 2019 Winner Audio Book of the Year 2019 Winner UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing - NSW Premier's Awards 2019 Winner Debut Fiction Australian Indie Awards 2019 Winner Book of the Year Australian Indie Awards 2019

A fabulous read that deservedly won a clutch of awards. Inspired by the author's '80s boyhood in Brisbane's grittier suburbs, young Eli navigates an adolescence complicated by drug dealers. ex-cons and gangs. And that's just his parents. Told with humour, warmth and a touch of mystery, this is a throroughly satisfying search for what it takes for a boy to become a good man. Loved it! -- April

General Fields

  • : 9781460757765
  • : HarperCollins
  • : Fourth Estate
  • : 0.346
  • : August 2017
  • : 3.2 Centimeters X 12.9 Centimeters X 19.7 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Trent Dalton
  • : Paperback
  • : 480
  • : FA