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Trent Dalton Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Boy Swallows Universe (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author Trent Dalton writes for The Weekend Australian Magazine and was once assistant editor of The Courier-Mail.

Trent was drawn to journalism because of an interview he read done by Cameron Crowe, who was interviewing Pearl Jam, a band that Trent really liked at the time. The piece led a thirteen year old dreamer who was sort of lost kid all the way to Seattle. Through Crowe’s words, he was stomping through the footsteps of his musical Gods.

He grew up in Housing Commission Bracken Ridge, Brisbane. Much of what he put into his novel “Boy Swallows Universe” are things he went through himself as a kid. He says that the book is about fifty-fifty fantasy and fact.

At certain points in his life, he would live with his father. His dad was an avid reader, reading from dusk until dawn and smoke twenty tobacco cigarettes. Anytime they had to move houses, he would leave some of the books behind him, and say that since he had read them, the next people could have them.

Trent decided to write the book because he was spending time with his mother, and they saw his daughter dancing, when she was just seven years old. His mother said that she would not change anything. She is also the woman he believes is the most interesting he has ever talked to.

In turn, his admiration comes from her getting through it all, and seeing his daughter dance and knew it was all going somewhere. The pain, madness, the longing, social suffering, the loss, a ton of bad choices, and every good choice. All of it was leading to her watching a girl she loves more than life dancing between a few trees.

He wrote the book after work, between the hours of eight and ten PM. All of the research he did was more like remembrance, remembering all the years when the world around his small family fell apart. When the people they loved were getting taken away from them. Things they believed to be true turned out to be false. It was a time their world was being turned on end.

He decided to fictionalize his story because there were things he wanted to say in his story that were bigger than just a simple memoir. Trent also wanted to go out into the outer realms in the universe, and look at the meaning of life, places that real life has never taken him to. Dalton wanted to put adventure and a love story in his book, too.

He wanted kids living in Housing Commission Bracken Ridge to read his book, and he worried they might not if it was another misery memoir that was about his years being raised by alcoholics with hearts of gold and drug dealers.

His biggest point with the novel is that no human is just one thing. Everybody is a mix of quite a few things, and hopefully most of them are good. In fact, his genuine father figure for a time, is a guy that would be considered wrong in many ways on paper, yet he finds this man to be someone he cherishes and loves because the guy loved him during a period when he needed him to. Dalton believes that good learning and good wisdom are still valid when they are delivered by bad guys.

Trent wrote the book in what he refers to as a fever dream storm of electricity that was borne from his own past and he asked his wife, once he was done, just what he had done. The first person he sent the book to was his mother. He told her that if there was anything she did not like, the whole story would be thrown away. She loved the entire thing. This after she read the entire thing in just a single extended sitting.

Trent believes that his seventeen years working as a journalist was his way of processing all of the baggage he has accumulated in his life through thousands of stories of Australians. These people that tell him their darkest, deepest secrets in the sacred space of their living rooms. Which he then takes these secrets to turn them into magazine stories, as respectfully as he can. These stories help him learn, know, and sometimes he can even heal from them.

“Beating the Odds” made the shortlist for a Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing. He has won three Kennedy Awards for Excellence in NSW Journalism, two Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism, and has won four National News Award Feature Journalist of the Year. He was named the Queensland Journalist of the Year at the Clarion Awards for excellence in Queensland journalism in the year 2011.

“Boy Swallows Universe” is a stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2018. This is a novel of magic, love, fate, crime, and coming of age. It is set in the violent working class suburban fringe of Brisbane. The book is a story of true love, brotherhood, and some of the most unlikely of friendships.

Brisbane in the year 1983. A mute brother, a missing father, a mother in jail, and a heroin dealer for a step dad. Not to mention a notorious crim for a babysitter. As if Eli’s life isn’t already complex enough as it is already. Eli is just trying to follow his heart, and figuring out what it takes to be a good guy. Life, though, just keeps throwing obstacles in his way, not least of which is a legendary Brisbane drug dealer named Tytus Broz.

Eli’s world is about to get a bunch more serious. He is close to falling in love. He also is going to have to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day so that he can save his mother.

This is a great coming of age story unlike any other. Trent is a great writer, who has great timing, horrifying and excellent characters and the story is warm, thrilling, believable, and scary all at the same time. The characters and words jump off of each page with originality and freshness and you feel like you know each and every person and the streets they live on. Trent writes with grace, from his own broken heart.

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