Author(s): Geoff Goodfellow
Australian literary icon Geoff Goodfellow is renowned for his brutally evocative poetry: famously performed on building sites, at factories and jails, and in mental institutions, as well as the traditional schools and literary festivals. Martin Flanagan says he reads ‘like an angry red nerve’. But this playful, tender, richly realised childhood memoir – his first prose collection – reveals the vulnerable side of the working-class boy from Copley Street. Growing up in Adelaide’s inner-northern suburbs, Geoff inherits a quick mind and quicksilver tongue from his father, a tender but troubled war veteran (and talented glassblower) who struggled with alcoholism. Geoff’s dad teaches him to make things with his hands, staunch loyalty to family, to charm and cajole – and perhaps most enduringly, to tell stories. So we follow young Geoff as he takes his first job as a milkman’s assistant, aged five, fixes up his first motorbike aged eleven, flirts with housewives (and punches out his boss for insulting his dad) in his first job as an apprentice butcher aged fifteen, and hitchhikes to Mount Gambier to work on oil rigs aged seventeen. This is a poignant snapshot of working-class Australian life in the 1950s and 60s, expertly rendered with the vivid lived detail and wry knockabout humour that Geoff Goodfellow is famous for.