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An enjoyable trip into a literary style of preumable typical of Australia in the 1870's. The language and the unlikely coincidences and behaviours on which the plot depends add to my sense of a period morality play. Nevertheless, the detail of the description of both the treatment of convicts and the physical locations adds great power and interest. I often read "historical novels" specifically to gain a more intimate sense of the personal experience. I try to select authors based on evidence that they have done serious research or are generally expert in the era. I am sure that this trust is often misplaced as all authors serve their art before the truth. I canot even say that the best of artists create art closely around the truth e.g. the political propoganda built into Shakespeare's brilliant plays such as Richard III. When interested in historical topic, I try to add vicarious experience to the wikipedia articles (Yes, I trust them !) by reading historical novels that I beleive are based on the artists best effort at accurate and objective research. It seems trite to focus on the general brutality of the times as compared to the present, as Clarke seems to do even about events so comparatively recent to him. The times were brutal - the experience of navy sailors, the experience of injured commanders, the experience of any person suffering from disease or starvation. The behaviour of penal institutions need to put into the context of the common experiences of the times. Clarke seems to have done research on the recent past in Australia and Tasmania, and makes an attempt to balance of characters and events on both sides of the prison door while passionately expounding on the unfairness of fate and the susceptibility of any power to corruption. 

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - John - Goodreads

I was expecting the usual disappointment with a book hailed as a 'classic', but this was, genuinely, a cracking good book, especially considering the era in which it was written. (view spoiler)[I'm ... Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Harry - Goodreads

The never ending cycle of misfortune and resilience in the face of hopelessness tangled with historical references to Australia's birth make this novel a timeless classic for any Australian patriot. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Estelle Borrey - Goodreads

I find this book very powerful and compelling, with well drawn characters and memorable scenes. I have to say that it is the first book, which, in my experience, has made me physically sick, with its ... Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Lucy - Goodreads

Three and a half stars. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Kim Ryan - Goodreads

So good I have read it 3 times. Rufus Dawes a man of the people Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Mark Wilson - Goodreads

A very long read, but one that is well worth investing the time into. Clarke gives us a glimpse into colonial Australia that is real, tragic and at times quite confronting. Reading this, I was forced ... Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Jessica - Goodreads

A classic Victorian novel, of a wronged English gentleman and his terrible fate in colonial Van Dieman's Land. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Dawn - Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for an honest review. For the Term of His Natural Life is an interesting story full of history and drama. The characters are unforgettable. You feel sorry for Dawes, an ... Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Nicola Nuttall - Goodreads

Not the easiest of reads but a fascinating and quite heartbreaking account of one man's life as he is transported from England to Australia as a convict. Not for the faint hearted but well worth the perseverance required. Read full review


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