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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  - Kate Parker - Goodreads

I was surprised how much I liked this. This book should be more popular and more often read. Yes it's a bit depressing but then it is a Victorian era novel and its a bit graphic. But it's a great read ... Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Mike Ward - Goodreads

It's a bit old school in language and style but after getting through the long dragging middle it's a decent read. But if you want some history (insight?) into life as a convict it's a unique read. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Josh Pervan - Goodreads

Phenomenal read. Great journey and a perfect ending. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Goodreads

As a narrative there are too many coincidences in the plot and the characters are largely flat. However, as a story that details the life and misery of convicts of the past I found it gripping. The use of detail is vivid. Not a light read. Be prepared for a very depressing story. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Lesley - Goodreads

As a narrative there are too many coincidences in the plot and the characters are largely flat. However, as a story that details the life and misery of convicts of the past I found it gripping. The use of detail is vivid. Not a light read. Be prepared for a very depressing story. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Evan - 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  - Goodreads

this is fantastic from start to finish. one of only 2 books that has brought me to tears. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Tyler Sidwell - Goodreads

this is fantastic from start to finish. one of only 2 books that has brought me to tears. Read full review

Review: For the Term of His Natural Life

User Review  - Jillian - Goodreads

Utterly heartbreaking, because you know so much is true. I still feel revolted that such things were permitted to happen. Read full review


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