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Boy on a Wire

Written by Jon Doust


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Dedicated to all those boys who carried their scars into manhood, Boy on a Wire is about an underdog who bites back. Sent to boarding school at a young age, Jack Muir quickly has to decide who he is going to be. Will he roll over or bare his teeth at the bullies, the bullied and the boarding school system? Jack gets by with a quick wit and a macabre sense of humour – but not everyone is so lucky. Boy on a Wire depicts alienation and the beginnings of depression with poignancy and humour.


‘From the opening sentence, it is clear that we are in the presence of a writer with a distinctive voice and uncanny ability to capture the bewilderment and burgeoning anger of a boy struggling to remain true to himself while navigating the hypocritical system he finds himself trapped in … If you know an angry teenager, give this to him.’ The Age

‘The novel is apparently autobiographical and is being publicised as such but Doust has done with his material what so many autobiographical novelists fail to do: he has turned it into a shapely story, with no extraneous material or diversions and with an absolutely consistent and convincing narrative voice.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘The distinctive, masterfully inhabited adolescent narrator recalls the narrator in darkly funny coming-of-age memoir Hoi Polloi (Craig Sherborne) – as does the juxtaposition of stark naivety and carefully mined knowingness.’ Books+Publishing

‘… a hilarious, angry and sympathetic portrait of boys behaving badly, teeming with sadistic bullies, imperfect heroes, adolescent onanists and ice-cream gorging hedonists.’ The West Australian

‘… funny and poignant coming of age tale.’ Scoop Magazine

’This highly readable novel will gain much notoriety with senior students, and the story it tells will be compared favourably with The Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies, as students grapple today with the same questions Jack asked 40 years ago.’ Magpies

’In the long literary historical view – when time is given to take it – this will seem another small, but significant shift in the social reckonings that Australian fiction makes.’
Canberra Times

ISBN 9781925815245 (Paperback)
Formats B Format (198 x 130mm) (Paperback)
Categories Young Adult
Children's ebooks
Book Club Reads
Publisher Fremantle Press
Edition 2nd
Publication Year Originally published in 2009, this edition 2018
Pages 240
Rights World
  • Jon doust web

    Jon Doust

    Jon Doust was born in Bridgetown into a farming/retailing family and worked in both until he was old enough to know better. He should have done well in school and studied law but he found himself without the necessary marks, and working in a bank. Asked to leave, he stumbled back to the family farm and shop, then travelled, then studied, then worked as a journalist and used his funny bone to some success in comedy. Now he is best known as a writer, professional speaker, big ideas inspirer, and community projects facilitator. In the early 2000s, he studied Jungian philosophy and subsequently became an accredited deliverer of Jungian psychological theories. He is the author of three novels for adults: Boy on a Wire (longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award), To the Highlands and Return Ticket. Though each book works as a standalone title, the three form a loose trilogy called One Boy’s Journey to Man. Read more