An unputdownable Australian novel to read with your book club.
The Last Station is a captivating story of heritage, heartbreak and hope, set during the dying days of the riverboat trade along the Darling River.
A once-prosperous pastoralist family fights to survive – and discovers there is a cost to love. Discuss the following questions with your book club.
Discussion points and questions:
- The Last Station is a captivating tale of heritage, heartbreak and hope. Which of these themes resonated the strongest with you?
- The Dalhunty children are born into poverty and must live in the twin shadows of a glorious past and their parents’ fractured relationship. How great a part does this environment play in forming the personalities of Julian, Laura and Meg?
- Ethan’s arrival further splinters the Dalhunty family. Why do you think Julian and Meg, in particular, are initially unwilling to accept him into the family? And how does Ethan ultimately manage to earn their respect?
- Julian Dalhunty is a sensitive, frustrated young man. How strong a part does loyalty play in Julian’s decision-making throughout the novel?
- Meg is funny, fearless and resilient. She represents the best and, in some respects, the worst of the Dalhuntys. Discuss.
- Rachael is a complicated character. Discuss her attitude to her family and husband, and the reasons for her behaviour.
- Each of the characters in The Last Station has their eccentricities, particularly Ben and Frank. How important is the use of humour in the novel?
- The Australian landscape is integral to The Last Station. How well has the author managed to convey a sense of place in the novel?
- The Last Station offers a glimpse of an old century and a new one. Progress and government intervention, floods and droughts, and the ramifications of the Robertson Land Acts gradually culminate in the end of a romantic age in Australia’s pastoral history – the demise of the river-boat trade and the breaking up of huge pastoral runs. Do you feel that the historical threads running through the narrative were handled deftly?
The Last Station introduces us to a once-prosperous family facing ruin and a paddle-steamer captain clinging to a dying world.
A standout book club novel. Unputdownable and thought-provoking.
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