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To the Highlands

Written by Jon Doust


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It is 1968. All around the world people are marching, protesting, fighting for freedom and free love.

Jack Muir arrives in the islands fresh out of Grammar School: a failure, a virgin, and a reluctant employee of The Colonial Bank of Australia.

Life in the islands is raw, sensuous, real. Here, the white man takes what he wants. But the veneer of whiteness is flimsy, and brutality never far from the surface.

To be free, you must set free. So says George Kanluna, future leader of the islands. Yet there is a world of difference between freedom and those things you unleash in others – and in yourself.

‘Doust firmly establishing himself as a rare contemporary voice …’ The Australian

‘Doust works deftly: he disturbs us, then he makes us laugh, and with our prim censure destabilised helps us move toward an altogether more complicated, and perhaps more compassionate, attitude.’ Kim Scott

To the Highlands is a short, dense, assured and incidentally poignant performance that has been worth the wait.’ Canberra Times

‘There is a relentless rawness to this book that make its moments of tenderness hit their mark even more keenly.’ Books+Publishing

‘Doust creates a distinctive Australian voice and the novel abounds in small and telling cameos.’ Sydney Morning Herald / The Age

‘…gritty and confronting…’ The West Australian

ISBN 9781921888779 (Paperback)
Formats C Format (234 x 153mm) (Paperback)
Categories Book Club Reads
New Adult
Pages 204
Publication Year 2012
Edition 1st
Publisher Fremantle Press
  • 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