Author(s): Alex Miller
"Me and Ben had been mates since we was boys and if it come to it I knew I would have to be on his side."
Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his boss, Daniel Collins, the new constable at Mount Hay. "Ben was not a big man but he was strong and quick as a snake. He had his own breed of pony that was just like him, stocky and reliable on their feet." Bobby understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay, while Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, "I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years." Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben. And when Bobby's love for Collins's willful young daughter Irie is exposed, it leads to tragic consequences for them all.
Miller's exquisite depictions of the country of the Queensland highlands form the background of this simply told but deeply significant novel of friendship, love, loyalty and the tragic consequences of misunderstanding and mistrust. Coal Creek is a wonderfully satisfying novel with a gratifying resolution. It carries all the wisdom and emotional depth we have come to expect from Miller's richly evocative prose.
Winner of Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2014 (Australia). Short-listed for Fiction prize 2014 (Australia) and Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2014 (Australia) and Fiction prize 2014 (Australia) and Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2014 (Australia).
Alex Miller is twice winner of Australia's premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, first in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. His books also include Conditions of Faith, Lovesong and Landscape of Farewell.