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Fredy Neptune

Les Murray

Cover Picture of Fredy Neptune
Categories: Australian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • In the old Turkish port of Trabzon, early in World War I, a German-Australian sailor by the name of Fred Boettcher witnesses the incineration of defenceless Armenian women by a crazed mob. Unable to intervene, his helplessness becomes physically manifest: he loses his sense of touch. This condition, which he conceals like a curse, is also something of a gift: it gives him great strength and immunity from pain. But it isolates him, too, especially from physical love.

    In the five books of this ambitious novel, Fredy witnesses the tragedies and triumphs of the twentieth century. In the end it is the individual as a social and spiritual being who triumphs. Fredy Neptune has the global scope and heroic dimensions of Byron's Don Juan and a human abundance all its own. Life takes Fredy home, in search of his father and his mother, then across the globe to America where he survives the Wall Street Crash, travels as a hobo to Hollywood, acts in the movies, then leaves America in dramatic circumstances in an airship. In Germany he works for Zeppelins as the Nazis consolidate their power, rescues a mentally handicapped youth from the racial hygiene laws, and contrives his return to rural Australia, where his life revives through love: his world of feeling is restored.
    Les Murray (1938-2019) grew up on a dairy farm at Bunyah on the north coast of New South Wales. He studied at Sydney University and later worked as a translator at the Australian National University and as an officer in the Prime Minister's Department. His real vocation was poetry, however, and ... read more
    Awards won by Les Murray Short-listed, 2015 T. S. Eliot Prize (Waiting for the Past ) Long-listed, 1994 for the Oxford Chair of Poetry. Winner, 1996 T.S. Eliot Prize for the best collection. (Subhuman Redneck Poems) Winner, 1999 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
    Praise for Les Murray 'His poetry was never less than a rough-edged hymn of praise to the ceaseless and unstoppable wonders of Creation'

    Michael Glover, The Tablet

    'The poems in this posthumous collection are, as so often in his work, intelligent, high-spirited, coolly or crudely argued, full of small delights, often with a strong dose of wrongheadedness... Murray was that rare thing, a poet who whatever his debts seemed an original.'

    William Logan, The New York Times

    'Very occasionally you come across something on the page which makes you think ''you can't do any better than this.'' Perfection achieved.'
    BBC Radio 4's Saturday Review 
     'Waiting for the Past is a brilliant collection by a brilliant poet.'
    Anthony Domestico, Commonweal Magazine
    'Les Murray's Taller When Prone shows a poetic master nimbly and lyrically at work. Now seventy-two, Murray writes with the bigness of soul of a person twice his age. This collection adds another chuckie to the cairn of a remarkable personal achievement. A Nobel Prize for that man, please.'
    Robert Crawford, TLS Books Of The Year 2010
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