Read The Drowner by Robert Drewe Online


In the warm alkaline waters of the public bath a headstrong young engineer accidentally collides with a beautiful actress. From this innocent collision of flesh begins a passion that takes them from the Wiltshire Downs to the most elemental choices of life and death in the Australian desert. Their intense romance is but part of the daring story that unfolds. Mingling histoIn the warm alkaline waters of the public bath a headstrong young engineer accidentally collides with a beautiful actress. From this innocent collision of flesh begins a passion that takes them from the Wiltshire Downs to the most elemental choices of life and death in the Australian desert. Their intense romance is but part of the daring story that unfolds. Mingling history, myth and technology with a modern cinematic and poetic imagination, Robert Drewe presents a fable of European ambitions in an alien landscape, and a magnificently sustained metaphor of water as the life-and-death force....

Title : The Drowner
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 12904512
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 326 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Drowner Reviews

  • Beejay
    2019-03-21 01:30

    Superb, lyrical writing, such that you almost hear the Moody Blues' Seventh Sojourn playing in the background, this is a book which takes you back to those deep, meaningful/less metaphysical discussions of your youth.Forget the idealistic young English engineer, Will Dance, a drowner at heart; forget the beautiful self-centred and damaged actress, Angelica; forget Inez, the young Melbourne socialite now cleaning maggots from the wounds of miners on the Goldfields; forget the visionary C.Y. O'Connor whose pipeline brought water hundreds of miles from the coast to Kalgoorlie, and who was then driven to suicide by public ridicule; forget Felix Locke, the poetry writing, hypochondriac undertaker. Forget them all, because the main character of this book is water, in all its splendor and terror, its over-abundance and absence, its ability to give life or to take it away. Think of water and you think of the soft words: fluid, flowing, mellifluous. Such is the writing of this book - it seeps and creeps, it finds its own level, it fills spaces of irregular shapes. Even at its harshest, it is simply beautiful.

  • Gayle
    2019-03-19 19:29

    A beautiful book. I have owned this for over 10 years and am not sure why it's taken me so long to get around to reading it. Started slowly, but became addictive reading in a slow and lulling way. Mostly set in the backdrop of Western Australia and CYO Connor's pipeline to Kalgoorlie. So much sadness, but a joy to read. One of those books that I couldn't stop reading, knew I'd be sad to leave behind when I'd finished, but still read at every chance I got.

  • Marianne Broadgate
    2019-02-22 22:08

    Provides good insight into how things were in Perth in the very early days and particularly the amazing feat with tragic ends for the main architect/engineer CY O'Connor. Fictional characters with a factual backdrop. I found it hard to read at first the way the story twists and turns, but once I got used to the style I enjoyed it.

  • Jane Odgers
    2019-03-07 02:15

    Will Dance was only "nettle high, thistle high, riding on his father's shoulders" when he learned about drowning. His father, like the mole he shows to Will, and like generations of Dances before him, is a drowner: "an artist, a craftsman, a personage", who knows how to bring water from river to meadow exactly as and when it is needed. Will, like other young men of his time, prefers science to art. But his medium is water, and his profession as a civil engineer in the early days of the twentieth century takes him from the rich Wiltshire farmland of his childhood to the parched desert of the Western Australian goldfields. Robert Drewe's central metaphor in this book is water and he controls every aspect of it with the artistry and skill of a true drowner. His language is subtle, fluid and full of reflections, but each short sequence of prose is like a vivid fragment of film in which his characters live and move. In many ways, Drewe's writing is similar to that of Graham Swift in Waterland and Adam Thorpe in Ulverton. His story of love, passion, madness, death and human frailty is compelling, and his historical settings are full of curious, almost forgotten knowledge. Drewe's approach is subtle but he draws us realistically into scenes as diverse as Will's Chapel baptism in the English River Avon and his eventual watery meeting with Angelica at Bath, to his typhoid delirium in a sackcloth tent under relentless Australian sun. His characters are striking and unusual but only Angelica's overbearing father, Hammond Lloyd, comes close to caricature as Ham Lloyd the famous actor. Drewe avoids this pitfall by exploring the curious psyches of other characters: like Inez, the well-bred young English woman who arrives to nurse sick miners in the drunken squalor of the goldfields; the dandy, Axel Boehm, who crawls half-a-mile into the earth with his glass photographic plates to photograph miners; and the American poet, Felix Locke, the goldfields undertaker. Robert Drewe is one of Australia's best writers and The Drowner is an ambitious but beautifully realised creation from an imaginative and seductive story-teller. Not surprisingly, it has already attracted glowing reports from reviewers around the world.

  • Dallas
    2019-03-21 02:19

    Australian literary and historical fiction at its best. The Drowner romances people, place, and time through an elemental journey beginning in England, across Africa, and on to the vast and thirsty interior of the Western Australian goldfields. There is much for the inner soul here: you will taste the water, smell the decay, feel the heat, and you will want to cherish love while you can.With all great books, you will be left wanting more, needing to know much more. You will be required to do some thinking.

  • Isabelle
    2019-03-03 19:12

    Very slow and boring to start with, but I was enjoying it by the end. I never would have finished this if I wasn't studying it in school.

  • Emily
    2019-03-15 21:05

    The best books leave you gasping for air, drowning in jealousy that you did not write them. They fill you with the need to reread them, to prove to yourself the assumptions you have made. They make sense only in a place of consciousness which exists in the space between reader and writer, and linger like perfume in the air a while after you've finished.Robert Drewe's The Drowner is one of the best books I have read this year.I stumbled across it by chance. Looking for scholarly material on The Shark Net, I came across a discussion of water themes in Drewe's work. If you've read The Drowner you'll know why this is. The book powerfully evokes themes of water as an instrument of chaos, life and passion; something to be both feared and worshipped. From references to Shakespeare's Hamlet to recollections of Western Australia's past, Drewe paints a picture of tragedy and hope using a contrast of water and the lack of it.The novel follows the life of lead character Will Dance, by profession a 'drowner'. After a chance meeting with the actress Angelica Lloyd in a public bath, water becomes a symbol not only of duty for Will but of passion. But for Angelica, her relationship with water is fraught with tension- an event in her past leaves her somewhat fascinated with the idea of drowning. Angelica and Will make their way to Western Australia so that Will can work on C.Y. O'Connor's Goldfields pipelines. Also tied up in this narrative are Angelica's father Hammond "Ham" Lloyd, the sometimes foolish and sometimes menacing actor, a figure of both love and loss in Angelica's life; Inez Gosper, the Melbourne woman who comes to the goldfield to nurse; Axel Boehm, the photographer with a secret; Felix Locke, the undertaker who longs for the touch of a living human and Dr Malebranche with his penchant for prostitutes. Their lives of desperation in a country town are transformed into something both normal and fascinated by Drewe's masterful prose. Never a purple phrase to lead the reader astray, The Drowner is a paragon of literary restraint. As a Western Australian novel, The Drowner is gently situated without becoming narrow in focus. While Drewe uses the medium of drama and the state's reaction to the pipeline being built as an excuse to meditate on themes of West, the story itself in universal. Oftentimes, Drewe uses Ham and Angelica to make an ironic comparison between West End- the symbol of culture- and The West- a frontier which seems devoid of all.I would recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Drewe's other works, or anyone who enjoyed Tim Winton's Breath. I give this book five out of five marionettes joyeuse.If you liked this review, visit and consider following for more.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-24 21:19

    This is a beautifully written book full of symbolism. I can see why some critics complained that the story drowns in its own water symbolism, but I loved it. Drewe said he was trying to write a great (capital 'R') romance and I think he has in the best sense of the genre. It is complex and unpredictable, moving and thought-provoking. I would highly recommend it and will send my copy* to my mum when I'm done using it for my night class, I hope she will send it back to me afterwards.Happy reading of this gorgeous, worthwhile book, when you get your hands on it.*I had trouble, like the other members of my course finding a copy in bookstores in Melbourne (despite Drewe being Australian and popular still, I believe). So I ordered in from Abe Books via The Book Depository (yay for them both!!!). The copy I had was published in Australia, sourced by Abe from St Louis, is barcoded for a library in Wisconsin and got to me via New Zealand (said the customs form).

  • Emma
    2019-03-18 20:26

    I had to read this book for a class, but boy did l find it hard to read! Well, to start anyway. The first part is very slow and well, dry, for wont of a better term. It has a morose vibe to it throughout which isn't attractive either. But alas, if you prevail to the end, it's an interesting story, with rich descriptions of each setting, which changes from England, to Africa, to Western Australia. I learnt about the fascinating history of WA, which as an Aussie was brilliant. I want to know more now. The characters are well, 'characters' - very unique with their own idiosyncrasies. I found the ending unexpected and there's some twists in the book too! Recommend.

  • Maxine
    2019-03-02 02:31

    What a terrible story. Look..... the language was lovely in parts, and this could have been an outstanding book but it was dull dull dull.If I want to know the intricacies of moving water I will read a book about it. I do not want a book disguised as a love story to bore me to death with technical information about water. I belive that Australian school children are sometimes required to read this book as part of their curriculum and I believe that this does a great injustice to the kids. If anything is going to turn them off literature it is this book. Make them read Dickens or even Lawrence but not The Drowner.

  • Sephie
    2019-03-11 00:09

    Some books are better when you read them twice. The Drowner is one of those books. The first time I read it, I didn't particularly like it. I was only reading it for school. The second time I read it I actually understood what was going on and I realised I had missed a lot of genius. It is a complex love story which explores the changing tensions between Will Dance and Angelica Lloyd, the two main protagonists within the context of the Australian gold rush. I think you may enjoy this book if you appreciate literary theory and poetry, because the metaphors are multi-faceted and beautiful and the imagery is poignant.

  • Heather Goldsmith
    2019-02-25 01:31

    I struggled to get through the first section of the book, as it seemed a bit too indistinct for me. I did enjoy all of the parts set in Western Australia and many of the characters were interesting to read about. I had several laugh out loud moments, but overall it's not the kind of book I'd recommend to anyone. I only pushed through to complete this because I'm reading it for a book club. I'd not have continued after the first part if not for the book group. That said, I'm looking forward to discussing this tale with others in about a week.

  • Rich Gamble
    2019-03-03 02:18

    I consider Robert Drewe's the bodysurfers to be one of the best Australian books ever but this is certainly not. Vague and disjointed story that tries to set up an occupation of drowning crops ie manipulating water on the farm to be semi religious, weird character names such as 'Alphabet Dance' and some romance between an engineer and a pretentious actress. Gave up after approx 50 pages.

  • Michael Scott
    2019-03-22 22:34

    Poetic prose often makes for a lumpy, leaden or overwrought story. Robert Drewe's visceral, languid and sensuous language ensures that 'The Drowner' eddies and churns where others sink like sack stuffed cats thrown into the canal. The books swirls from Wiltshire to Australia with a sense of wonder and hope in spite of the harshest realities. A beautiful book.

  • Heikki
    2019-02-21 01:18

    I'm glad I persisted with this Robert Drewe book.It wasn't easy going at the start and probably half the book, but then things got interesting. Water is used as a metaphor for a lot of things including life and death. There is a lot going on here - I liked The Shark Net better, but will now search out another Drewe to read, maybe the Ned Kelly one

  • Christinavw VW
    2019-03-13 21:06

    I found this book difficult to start - but once the story hit Western Australia, it really picked up. I found that quite a few things in the book were quite vague, and difficult to interpret, so I'm looking forward to my bookclub discussion to see if others interpreted the story the same way as I did.

  • Tegan Rowbotham
    2019-02-24 20:28

    It took me quite a while to get into this story, but it turned into an interesting story. It did lose me a few times tho. It is beautifully written and the language is lovely.

  • Fran
    2019-03-01 19:29

    Read 1998

  • Elyse
    2019-03-10 22:19

    Good Book.Very long.Very poetic.I found some of the plot a little boring.Loved the historical CY O'Connor stuff.

  • Di
    2019-03-08 23:32

    Gave up. Dull. One star is one too many.

  • Sharron
    2019-02-24 01:25

    Tried, and tried again. Couldn't find anything in this book to keep me interested.

  • Bruce Williams
    2019-03-12 01:08

    Lyrical and moving romance of love, water, gravity. For something so carefully written, why the cliches? "Dulcet tones" for instance appears twice. Another west Australia fabulous tale

  • Lesley Moseley
    2019-03-06 01:08

    Read this book years ago and sought it out again as I remembered how interesting the historic facts were, as well as the suberb writing skills of Robert Drewe. Enjoyed it immensely, again.

  • Lucy
    2019-02-26 22:04

    Two and a half stars

  • William Freeman
    2019-02-20 23:18

    One of the most verbose over written piece of .... I have read in a long time avoid.