Read Boy Swallows Universe

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Boy Swallows Universe is the debut novel from Australian author, Trent Dalton. Set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe in the 1980’s, the story tells the tale of Eli Bell, a child finding his way in an often chaotic world. Throughout, it explores ideas of family, friendship and fate in a fantastical world. You

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Marginalia

Boy Writes Words

Lyle doesn’t believe in much, but he believes in the circumstance-shifting power of a broken nose.

Boy Receives Letter

That’s Slim’s favourite nugget of porridge wisdom.

Do your time before it does you.

Boy Seeks Help

The concealer. The concealers. The concealed.

A bee sting smarts like a bitch until someone clubs you with a cricket bat.

Boy Steals Ocean

I tore the paper away to find the gift inside. It was no book. It was a block of paper, maybe 500 blank pages of A4. On the first page was a brief message.

To burn this house down or set the world on fire. Up to you, Eli. Merry Christmas. Dad.

Boy Takes Flight

‘I had some dark periods inside,’ he says. ‘Everybody just assumes the head of an organisation like mine would be flooded with letters from friends on the outside. But the reality is, in fact, the complete opposite. No bastard writes to ya because they think every other bastard is writin’ to ya. But no man is an island, ya know, not the Prime Minister of Australia, not fuckin’ Michael Jackson, and not the Queensland sergeant-at-arms of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang.’

Boy Conquers Moon

Forward to the beginning. I like that. That’s all I’ve ever been doing. Moving forward to the start.

She looks out from the foyer to Mum, Dad and August, now waiting at the edge of King George Square.

‘I thought they’d look different, your mum and dad,’ she says.
I laugh. ‘You did?’
‘They’re so nice,’ she says. ‘They just look like any normal mum and dad.’
‘They’ve been working on normal for quite some time now.’