WAKE IN FRIGHT by Kenneth Cook


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John Grant, originally from Sydney, has one more year to serve as school teacher in the outback of Australia. He abhors his life, his job, the waste of education in the territory, but he is obliged to stay or forfeit the bond his uncle has put up. He departs for an intended six weeks' vacation by the sea, the thought of which had made life bearable for many months, stopping en route in the worst of the outback cities, Bundanyabba. Here, in a den of importunate hospitality and casual immorality, Grant plays in the Two-Up School. He wins almost enough money to buy his way out of teaching, but in a taut, effortless scene of febrile compulsion, loses it- and his vacation check. Penniless, stranded, Grant must ""get involved""; the denizens of the 'Yabba oblige with a vengeance and involvement means orgiastic drinking, sadistic, blood-letting Kangaroo hunting ""What was he, John Grant, school-teacher and lover, doing out here under the contemptuous stars butchering this warm grey beast?"" Bloodied, disgusted, still stranded, the despairing John Grant attempts suicide. Unsuccessful, he awakes realizing the abundance of choice even amid misery. A taut, exotic thriller, very nicely executed.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1962
Publisher: St Martin's Press