Nominated by:

State Library of South Australia, Adelaide

Publisher of nominated edition:

Wakefield Press, Australia

Incredible Floridas

Stephen Orr    

As Hitler’s war looms, famous Australian artist Roland Griffin returns home from London with his family to live a simple life of shared plums and low-cut lawns in the suburbs.
In the yard: a daughter, and a son, Hal, growing up with a preoccupied father who is always out in his shed stretching canvases and painting outback pubs. An isolated man obsessed with other people and places. Everything is a picture, a symbol. Even Hal, the boy in the boat, drifting through a strange world of Incredible Floridas.

As the years pass, Roland learns that Hal is unable to control his own thoughts, impulses, behaviour. The boy becomes the destroyer of family. The neighbourhood is enlisted to help Hal find a way forward. Child actor, a clocker at Cheltenham Racecourse, an apprentice race caller. Incredible Floridas describes Hal’s attempts at adulthood, love, religion, and the hardest thing of all: gaining his father’s approval.

About the author

Stephen Orr is the author of six novels. He contributes essays and features to several magazines, journals and newspapers. His last novel The Hands was longlisted for the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary AwardStephen lives with his family in Adelaide.

(from publisher)

Librarian’s comments

Incredible indeed !!! The story unfolds in the Pennington and Cheltenham Racecourse area of Adelaide during the 1950s and unfolds very well. The author really captures the social attitudes and niceties of the time, and especially the way neighbours in a suburban street would have likely interacted. The dialogue isexcellent, to give added depth to all the characters and their struggles, including those colourful individuals whose idea of law-abiding society was a little hazy.

Related Entries