Lost Voices – Christopher Koch

Posted: November 23, 2012 in general fiction, Review

Set in Tasmania this book has three parts, telling the stories of Hugh Dixon, a school boy in the 50’s; his great great grandfather Martin’s adventures with a notorious bushranger in the 1800’s; and a return to Hugh as he makes a life in the 70s.

The first part is rather slow, telling us about Hugh’s best friend, his desire to be an artist, and his meeting with his great uncle Walter, an acclaimed lawyer, in order to get a favour for his father.  Walter creates a bond with Hugh, encouraging him to follow his dream of being an artist and acting as a mentor, introducing him to literature and new ideas.  This lays the ground work for the next chapter in Hugh’s life and introduces Martin, a relative Walter has long admired.

Martin longs to be a writer, rebelling against his father’s wish he be a gentleman farmer.  The setting is Tasmania in the 1800s, when it served as a penal colony for British convicts.  Liam Dalton escapes his prison sentence and returns to the gang of his fellow bushranger, the legendary Luke Wilson.  On his way there, he meets Martin who persuades him to take him to Luke and see if he’ll let him write down his life story for a newspaper.  Martin stays for a while in the utopian paradise Luke Wilson has created before the actions of an evil person force him out.

Jumping forward in time, Hugh’s story resumes.  Having left school, he works as a photo retoucher for a newspaper.  He reconnects with his childhood best friend and they are on their way to achieving their dreams of being artists. Then an evil person appears to shatter those dreams.  Hugh asks another favour of Walter, to help his best friend.

After a slow start, the plot heats up and more action occurs.  I’m glad I didn’t give up reading as this is a good book.  The contrast of good and evils is shown, and interesting questions are raised, such as can there ever be a utopia?  A thought provoking book, much different from my usual reads!


Supplied by HarperCollins

Reviewed by Jan

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