Such is Life
A classic of the Australian outback, Such Is Life is the farcical, tragic reminiscences of Tom Collins, philosopher and rogue. As Tom drives his team across the plains of the Riverina and northern Victoria, he gets entangled in the fate of others like Rory O'Halloran, the two Alfs (Nosey and Warrigal) and Hungry Buckley of Baroona recreating the humour, the pathos, the irony of life in the bush. His is the tough-talking, law-dodging world of the 1880s, where swagmen and bullockies slept under the stars with 'grandeur, peace and purity above; squalor, worry and profanity below'. These inspired yarns, 'fatally governed by an inveterate truthfulness', are woven into one of the greatest books of Australian literature, combining a genius for story-telling with a wry wit and a deep feeling for the harsh sun-baked land and the people who worked it.
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Joseph Furphy was born at Port Phillip, Victoria, in 1843. 'Half bushman and half bookworm', Furphy worked as a goldminer, labourer and farmer before coming to the profession that would inspire Such Is Life, bullock driving. In 1904 he settled in Fremantle, Western Australia, to join his children. Such Is Life was originally published in 1903 and was soon regarded as one of Australia's great novels. Furphy's three other books - Poems, Rigby's Romance and The Buln Buln and the Brolga-were all published after his death in 1912.