About the Book
Two closer friends, Griffin—a Vietnam Veteran, and Lew—a draft dodger, buy a wrecked old Jaguar and, accompanied by a dog named The Monster, set out on an expedition from Melbourne to Cooktown. Ostensibly, the trip is to fiddle the registration of the car by juggling differing state regulations, but in fact it is to keep Lew out of the hands of the law, to whom he has foolishly exposed himself. And, although neither will admit it, both are in pursuit of lost loves who, for very different reasons, have run away to Queensland.
Although they chatter intimately in their own peculiar dialogue, a lot of things don’t get admitted to. Griffin is trying to completely ignore the fact that his failure to readjust to the civilised world has completely ruined his life, and Lew strives to draw him out, to at least get him to talk about the war experiences that have plainly damaged him so badly. Griffin, on the other hand, sees his role as tempering Lew’s excesses.
Interspersed with their various adventures, the history of their unlikely friendship is traced though the time of the growth of the anti-war movement, as a society gradually turns against the military ambitions of its leaders. For although the two friends have been travelling the same path, they have actually been heading in opposite directions, the one transforming into the other, and by the time they reach the far north and their various issues are resolved, so too are they headed for final confrontation with themselves.
Barry Klemm enjoyed an array of abandoned careers before resorting to literature. He was a crane jockey, insurance clerk, combat soldier, advertising officer, computer programmer, cleaner, stagehand, postman, sports ground manager, builder's labourer, taxi-driver, film and TV scriptwriter and radio dramatist. He has published two novels for teen-age readers, The Tenth Hero, in 1997, and Last Voyage of the Albatross in 1998 through Addison Wesley Longman and Running Dogs, a novel of the Vietnam War by Black Pepper in 2000.