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About the book
  • Published: 26 October 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742746593
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288
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Forty-Seventeen




What could he tell her now, now that he was forty and she was no longer 17?

What could he tell her now, now that he was forty and she was no longer 17?

He is a failed writer turned diplomat, an anarchist learning the value of discipline. He moves in a world which takes him from the Australian wilderness to the conference rooms of Vienna and Geneva; from the whore-house to warzone he feels the pull of the genetic spiral of his ancestry. At the sharp axis of his mid-life he scans the memorabilia of his feelings in the hope of giving answers.

In his first full-length novel Moorhouse presents a roving, dissatisfied man entering middle age in a house-of-mirrors portrait: fragmentary and multifaceted. Sean, a hard-drinking, hard-living Australian, has just turned 40; the other half of the title refers to a precocious schoolgirl who is one of his many liaisons. The most important of the other women who drift into and out of his life include his ex-wife Robyn, now unflinching in the face of cancer; Belle, Sean's fellow sexual adventurer; and Edith Campbell Berry, an aging iconoclast whom Sean encounters in Vienna and Israel.

Forty-Seventeen is told with characteristic Moorhouse style - candid, wryly insightful and morbidly comic - and, in this resonant and acclaimed book achieves a new virtuosity.

  • Pub date: 26 October 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742746593
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the Author

Frank Moorhouse

Frank Moorhouse was born in the coastal town of Nowra, NSW. He worked as an editor of small-town newspapers and as an administrator and in 1970s became a full-time writer. He has won national prizes for his fiction, non-fiction, and essays. He is best known for the highly acclaimed Edith trilogy, Grand Days, Dark Palace, and Cold Light, novels which follow the career of an Australian woman in the League of Nations in the 1920s and 1930s through to the International Atomic Energy Agency in the 1970s as she struggled to become a diplomat. His most recent book published last year by Penguin Random House is The Drover’s Wifea reading adventure. which brings together works inspired by Henry Lawson’s story and examines the attachment Australia has to the story and to Russell Drysdale’s painting of the same name. Frank has been awarded a number of fellowships including writer in residence at King’s College Cambridge, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. His work has been translated into several languages. He was made a member of the Order of Australia for services to literature in 1985 and was made a Doctor of the University by Griffith University in 1997 and a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Sydney, 2015.

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Praise for Forty-Seventeen

“Moorhouse at his best.”

Susan McKernan, The Bulletin

“A work of verve and style.”

Angelo Loukakis, The Australian


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