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Boy Swallows Universe - Trent Dalton


Published: 19th June 2018
In Stock. Ships from Australia today or next business day
RRP $32.99

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Published: 1st July 2018
Format: ePUB

Booktopia Comments

Review by Ben Hunter

In Boy Swallows Universe, Walkley-winning journalist Trent Dalton bends his own horrific story of a chaotic youth in the heroin-drenched suburbs that Brisbane forgot into a bright and brilliant phantasmagoria – an instant classic of Australian storytelling.

Eli Bell has unfortunate circumstances. His brother is mute, his dad is drunk, his mum is headed for jail, his step-dad deals heroin, his babysitter is a convicted murderer and his only friend seems to be his pen pal… who’s in prison. When he tries to improve these circumstances, things go from bad to horrific and suddenly this novel opens up a whole universe on the page. To try and describe what I mean by all this could spoil the delights of this book. You need to witness it for yourself.

Read Boy Swallows Universe and Eli Bell will take you him on his unfathomable journey – his coming-of-age meets survival story – one that will defy logic and utterly astonish you. It’s exhilarating, funny, heartbreaking, horrifying and all-throughout uncompromising. It’s a book without comparison that Australia, and the world, will fall in love with.

Product Description

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universewill be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.

'Trent Dalton is the most extraordinary writer - a rare talent. A major new voice on the Australian literary scene has arrived.' Nikki Gemmell

'An astonishing achievement. Dalton is a breath of fresh air - raw, honest, funny, moving, he has created a novel of the most surprising and addictive nature. Unputdownable.' David Wenham

'I couldn't stop reading from the moment I started, and I still can barely speak for the beauty of it. Trent Dalton has done something very special here, writing with grace, from his own broken heart.' Caroline Overington

'Enthralling - a moving account of sibling solidarity and the dogged pursuit of love.' Geoffrey Robertson QC

'Stunning. My favourite novel for decades. Left me devastated but looking to the heavens.' Tim Rogers


Getting one for all my family!!


Read it! Crazy question!

Wellington NZ


"Do your time, before it does you."


I was worried this book would be all hype. But after the first chapter I knew it was going to be the most incredible book I've read all year, possibly ever. Dalton's writing is exquisite in this coming of age story; it's colourful and flowery, like his main protagonist Eli. This story is undoubtedly a modern Australian classic. I was swallowed up by Eli's universe.



An Excellent Debut Novel


Totally enjoyed this novel. The best thing I have read since "All the Light We Cannot See" and it has aspects which reminded me of that Pulitzer winning novel. Starts from the main characters point of view and it almost is in a 'stream of consciousness style'. Gradually over time the characters develop and its like peeling an onion. The way some of them come back into the story is fairly ingenious just when you had almost forgotten about them. The Brisbane suburban setting was understandable and believable and also a character. While this was also disturbing it was at once sad and then uplifting as the boy rose above these influences to enable his true character shape his life. I will be keen to see any future novels.



Boggo Road Jail and how humanity survives despite all.


It is written in an accessible manner and has an authenticity in its voice. Something that Twain or Steinbeck may have produced. A modern classic. harper Lee post a cold turkey comedown.



I would buy this book again


Somewhat different , great read



Fantastic Read!


Hilarious, had me hooked, can't wait to read it all over again!



Hard to put down!


I found this book to be an exreaordinarily entertaining and, at times, heartwrenching, read. I took it on holidays and couldn't wait to get back to it at the end of each day.



3 words 'Must Read Book!'


Wow! What a read, didn't want this book to end. Especially loved the colourful character and beautiful writing style of the author. This book will fill you with emotion and take you on a page turning journey you won't forget anytime soon.



Mind blowingly beautiful and engaging, unputdownable.


The most amazing story I have ever read and I have read thousands as I am in my 50s and a book junkie. I could not put it down, I never wanted the story to end. It would make a great Australian tv series or movie, an incredible read, don't loan it, you will never get it back. Cant wait for Trent Daltons next book. Boy Swallows Universe deserves international recognition.

North Queensland


Stunning! A 10 STAR read - could not put it down.


Astonishing book. There is good in us in spite of our frailties and trauma. This is more than a feel-good book this is an exploration of all of life, and written from the point of view of a child and yet narrated somewhere too from inside the reader as we go. Creative. 3D. Wonderful. Real. Unreal. Perfect. I can see it being used as a text for study as well as for seeing the soul through to survival and thriving again. 10 stars!

New Zealand


Boy Swallows Universe

4.8 12


ISBN: 9781460753897
ISBN-10: 1460753895
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 19th June 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.4  x 3.5
Weight (kg): 0.65