SHOP NOW—free delivery anywhere in Australia
In August 1905 a party of young men took ship for England. Among them: four farmers, two bootmakers and a boatbuilder. Bunny and Fats, Bubs and Massa and all the Georges and Billys. They set out from Auckland, never dreaming they would conquer the world. They were bound for fame.
The first game, in Devon, ‘played in golden farmlight: a surprising victory’. By December they were the ‘wonderful All Blacks’ who had beaten Yorkshire (40-nil), England (15-nil) and Ireland (15-nil). Englishmen stopped them in the streets. ‘Mr Gallaher. Mr Gallaher, sir. How does it feel to be famous?’ ‘The pyramids are famous, son.’ They were a tribe far from home, weary, bedazzled, a little lost—but the world showed them wonders.
The world came to look at them, and they looked back: the Eiffel Tower, snow on Tierra del Fuego, English lords, Consommé Sarah Bernhardt. America! But years later, it was something else that remained indelible. A feeling shared, grave and simple, that survived all the acclaim.
Winner of the Tasmania Prize for fiction
Winner of the Deutz Medal for fiction
In this singular melding of history and imagination, Lloyd Jones has created a work of great beauty and purity—a journey from innocence to celebrity; a story of loss and return.
‘Three books that I have read on sport tower above the rest…The Book of Fame is a beautiful book about sport written in a novel way…The book is mysterious in the way that the New Zealand film The Piano was mysterious, and is written in masterly fashion by a writer with a thorough love of the game and a fine eye for its rhythms and movements.’
‘You don’t have to like sport to appreciate the gracile beauty of Jones’ writing. At times lapsing into free verse, The Book of Fame captures the physical presence of the players and their epic journey with an almost Homeric resonance. Jones writes with economy and lyricism and possesses a striking command of metaphor—there isn’t a word in tis novel that doesn’t carry its own weight…quite simply, a brilliant read.’
‘Abstract but powerfully simple prose…This is a unique book.’
‘”Exquisite” and “rugby” seem an odd juxtaposition. But it’s the only way to describe Lloyd Jones’ The Book of Fame, a fictional account of the first All Black tour of the UK in 1905…It’s a book about blokes, bluff outside, but discerning inside, blokes who speak poetry, the way we all would speak if we could put our finest feelings into words…It’s a beautiful book: complete, strong and poetic.’