The Torch

The Torch Melbourne Mrs Blayney and her twelve year old son live in South Richmond At least they did until their house burnt down The prime suspect one Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh also aged has

  • Title: The Torch
  • Author: Peter Twohig
  • ISBN: 9780732299019
  • Page: 266
  • Format: Paperback
  • Melbourne, 1960 Mrs Blayney and her twelve year old son live in South Richmond At least, they did, until their house burnt down The prime suspect one Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh, also aged 12 has mysteriously disappeared Our narrator, the Blayney kid, sets off on a covert mission to find young Keith, who he privately dubs Flame Boy , to save him from the smallMelbourne, 1960 Mrs Blayney and her twelve year old son live in South Richmond At least, they did, until their house burnt down The prime suspect one Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh, also aged 12 has mysteriously disappeared Our narrator, the Blayney kid, sets off on a covert mission to find young Keith, who he privately dubs Flame Boy , to save him from the small army of irate locals not to mention his mother who want to see him put away.Flame Boy has not only made himself scarce, but he s done so with a very important briefcase of secrets, which the kid is keen to get hold of for his grandfather, a shady character who has some secrets of his own But the kid has got a lot going on he s also organising a new gang of kids coping with the ups and downs of having a girl friend who likes to kiss a lot trying to avoid Keith s dangerous prison escapee father, Fergus Kavanagh, also an arsonist, who is suspected of selling secrets to the Russians and all the while wondering how he can get his hands on the most beautiful object in the world the Melbourne Olympic Torch.A madcap, brilliantly shambolic and irresistibly fun novel about loss, discovery and living life to the full, The Torch is a ripper of a ride.

    One thought on “The Torch”

    1. #11 A book set during summerThis is a sequel to The Cartographer, Twohig's debut novel centred on an eleven-year-old boy from Richmond in Melbourne with an encyclopedic knowledge of the drains which he uses to evade retribution from a murderer he witnessed in action. This time he is trying to find the boy who burnt down the family home forcing Blayney and his mother to move in with her father, former boxing champion and local crime boss, Archie Taggerty. The 'torch' of the title is both Keith, t [...]

    2. Given the author is apparently a civil servant, it is all the more remarkable that in presenting the voice of a street wise 13 year old he is remarkably successful. Putting aside the unlikely plot line and an environment more remniscent of gangland London, the book has an authenticity about it well as a lot of clever humourous observation through the eyes of the protagonist. It was hard to really believe his level of maturity, the quick one liners and the second life that he appeared to lead in [...]

    3. I must confess I struggled with this one at first. The voice of the kid bothered me, plus I was missing all the background information from The cartographer (I shall rectify that soon). [book club selection] As I learnt more about the boy's previous adventures and experiences, everything fell into place. This is a very funny, very tragic, very Melbourne-of-old book.

    4. The Torch is Twohig’s sequel to the The Cartographer, and sees us back with the Blayney kid rampaging around early 1960s Richmond.Blayney (we never learn his first name) is 12, and obsessed with spying, exploration and being a super-hero. At the start of the book, his house has been burned to the ground by a local arsonist, whom he dubs Flame Boy and considers his nemesis. He pursues Flame Boy through the houses, alleys, drains and tunnels of Richmond.Twohig’s rollicking plot turns on the ma [...]

    5. This book follows the adventures of the boy, now twelve, introduced in "The Cartographer", a mix of superhero and rascal. He is slowly coming to terms with the loss of an identical twin and also with that fact that grown ups have many secrets of their own. The setting is the 1950's in Richmond, Melbourne, footy allegiances, fluorescent socks, the Cold War, and corporal punishment in the schools. This background is fascinating, as well as the world of drains and tunnels that our superhero knows b [...]

    6. Fun to read, witty and entertaining, especially for someone whose childhood reading was the adventures of the famous five, the secret seven and Dennis the menace. Our 12 year old hero grapples with family, friends, girls, neighbours, superheroes, school, church, underground tunnels and growing up in 1960 in Melbourne.As a sequel to The Cartographer, which I loved for its charm and ability to convey a spirit of long-lost adventure and sense of place and time, this delivers the same characters, pl [...]

    7. It's a big call but I'm going to make it - Blayney, the hero of these novels, is my favourite first person narrator OF ALL TIME. A twelve year old boy who can't help but get himself mixed up in madcap adventure, he's the perfect mix of sorrow and charm, mischief and bravery, naivety and street smarts. There is never a dull moment in The Torch and Blayney makes me laugh out loud on every page. I just adore him and I'm thrilled Peter Twohig wrote this sequel to The Cartographer. If he writes a tho [...]

    8. Absolutely top follow-up to The Cartographer. The young Blayney is back, and once again up to his neck in matters he only thinks he understands - this time, a mate who's a firebug, the mate's dad who may or may not also be a firebug, a mysterious suitcase that everyone seems to want, and the compelling adventure that is kissing a girl. Great fun, and wonderfully captures its era (Richmond in 1960, when it was still an out-of-working class slum.

    9. The sequel to The Cartographer, which was one of my favourite books from a few years ago. A boys own adventure through the streets and alleys and underground tunnels in Melbourne in 1960. This time our young hero is looking to find "flame boy", the boy who set his house on fire and is now in hiding. Along the way our hero stumbles across some RussiansLots of fun, I still love Twohig's rather laconic style of story telling.

    10. I did not enjoy this at all. At times it felt like I was reading some kind of 'Dad's compendium of Australianisms'. The narrative veered wildly from saccharine sentimentalism to confusing coincidence. At other times I felt compelled to count how many corny similes appeared on each page. Just not my cup of tea I suppose.

    11. This book had me chuckling all the way through. I love the language the Blayney kid uses, partly reminiscent of my own childhood. He has fabulous insight into the behaviour of adults, and I might even adopt his rating system for Smells & Pongs as I think it's terrific. I'm sure there's more to his story, and I really look forward to the next instalment.

    12. The super hero narrator of this story makes you laugh, worry and wonder at the escapades and characters or Richmond. A wonderful romp, by tram, train and drain around inner Melbourne. His extended family add colour and movement to the saga. A great read.

    13. An entertaining romp through Melbourne's lane-ways and tunnels in the company of a 12 year-old rascal. I do think, however, that although I appreciated many of Peter's analogies, he did rather milk that particular device.

    14. If anyone wants to understand the Australian idiom then this is a great yarn , it's the Australian version of huck fin or Paddy Clarke ha ha ha. If you've read the first book The Cartographer then I think this one is probable 100 pages too long.

    15. Great sequel to The Cartographer. Once again, Twohig opened a door to my own childhood in Sydney. While I couldn't personally relate to the setting of Richmond, Victoria I did connect with the attitudes, language and activities of the time. Best reads of 2015.

    16. I loved this book. The protagonist's perspective is so distinctive that the whole novel is just a breath of fresh air.

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