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Going West (1992)

by Maurice Gee

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741308,285 (4.31)11
For all the promise of his name, Jack Skeat cannot be a poet. His friend Rex Petley eel-catcher, girl-chaser, motorbike rider takes that prize. Is he also a murderer? And why, forty years later, does he drown out on the Gulf? Jack has to find out, and is drawn to examine their lives. Going West has long been regarded as one of the most autobiogr...… (more)
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» See also 11 mentions

Sadly I have delayed too long writing this review, so I am struggling to pull my thoughts together.
So from the cover:
For all the promise of his name, Jack Skeat cannot be a poet. His friend RexPetley - eel-catcher, girl-chaser, moterbike rider - takes that prize. Is he also a murderer! and why, forty years later, does he drown out in the Gulf? Jack has to find out, and is drawn to examine their lives. Going West has long been regarded as one of the most autobiographical novels of Maurice Gee's works.
I found this a quiet, reflective novel. Jack fills his exercise books with his memoirs, in attempt to understand and discover the truth about his old friend Rex and through his reflections finds an inner peace with his own life.
I love these books set in familiar places and times. I find myself recognising an era, now past, that was my youth too. These local writers are so important for recording the 20th century for future generations. ( )
  HelenBaker | Sep 1, 2012 |
Gee's dedication to his writing over the past three decades has resembled the commitment that some of his characters show to their own work ... now his readers are able to benefit richly themselves from the commitment Gee has shown to his craft.
 
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He was born at New Lynn in 1930, with Amalgamated on one side and Crum on the other, and died in 1988, out past Tiri in the Hauraki Gulf.
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Jack keeps two sets of books: those and these. He writes those in Olympic 1B5 exercise books, in black biro, these in blue in Warwick 1B5. Blue seems to flow more easily. On the other hand, he prefers the back cover of the Olympic, where cartoons and text teach water survival: three people cling to an upturned dinghy, a boy clings to a log, a boy and a girl to a chillibin - all looking woeful but safe. On the back of the Warwick there are only measurement tables.
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For all the promise of his name, Jack Skeat cannot be a poet. His friend Rex Petley eel-catcher, girl-chaser, motorbike rider takes that prize. Is he also a murderer? And why, forty years later, does he drown out on the Gulf? Jack has to find out, and is drawn to examine their lives. Going West has long been regarded as one of the most autobiogr...

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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