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Description - The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham

In a quiet farming town somewhere in country New South Wales, war is brewing.

The last few years have been punishingly dry, especially for the farmers, but otherwise, it's all Neralie Mackintosh's fault. If she'd never left town then her ex, the hapless but extremely eligible Mitchell Bishop, would never have fallen into the clutches of the truly awful Mandy, who now lords it over everyone as if she owns the place.

So, now that Neralie has returned to run the local pub, the whole town is determined to reinstate her to her rightful position in the social order. But Mandy Bishop has other ideas. Meanwhile the head of the local water board - Glenys 'Gravedigger' Dingle - is looking for a way to line her pockets at the expense of hardworking farmers already up to their eyes in debt. And Mandy and Neralie's war may be just the chance she was looking for...

A darkly satirical novel of a small country town battling the elements and one another, from the bestselling author of The Dressmaker.


"Rosalie Ham deftly sharpens the razor edge between comedy and tragedy. The Year of the Farmer is a book that delights, appals but never waivers in its brutal honesty. If you didn't laugh, you'd cry." Sue Maslin, producer of The Dressmaker

"Where Ham excels - is in her delineation of small-town communities...And her keen eye for the ridiculous, for the pretensions and prejudices we all share, means that her writing is nothing short of entertaining.

But what is most striking about The Year of the Farmer is how timely a novel it is, offering as it does an insight into the predicament of those who live on the land, their fates a hostage not just to the fortunes of nature but also to the narrow-minded and self-serving interests of government." The Australian

"A tightly plotted, highly entertaining romp that poses some big questions." The Saturday Paper

"A quiet and stunning achievement...The characters within it are fully realized and show Ms Ham's genuine understanding for the plights suffered by those backbone folks out there earning a living off a tough environment." The Lesser Column

Buy The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781760558901
Format: Paperback / softback
(232mm x 154mm x 25mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Picador Australia
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publish Date: 25-Sep-2018
Country of Publication: Australia

Other Editions - The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham

Book Reviews - The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham

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Book Review: The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham - Reviewed by (26 Oct 2018)

Mitch’s life has been hell. His crops are failing and his sheep are hungry but he has decided that life is going to turn around and this is going to be his year. First the rain comes then the love of his life, Neralie, returns home after 5 years in Sydney and it looks like he may get the year he envisaged. The only problem is the rain has come too early and may ruin his crop and he is now married; to the town’s nemesis.

The Year of the Farmer is a cleverly written satire, a dark tragicomedy, that will have you laughing out loud at the overly exaggerated characters all placed neatly in their respective boxes and performing perfectly on cue.

The small town is under threat from the drought and the water authority is doing everything it can to make life more difficult (on the pretense of helping them) for the farmers whilst making a little money on the side for themselves; that retirement fund. But the biggest threat will come from one of their own! A furious wife hell bent on fitting in but letting her hurt fuel her need for revenge.

I loved this story! There are a multitude of characters introduced one straight after the other which I found hard to sort out but as the story progresses everyone fits into their place.

The story brings to light the plight of the farmers and the devastating effect of the drought and the nonsensical stipulations and regulations set by the water authorities. Ham shows the deep connection that the farmers have with their land and how they have intense feelings of letting their ancestors down when they lose their farm that has been handed down through the generations.

They were a town that stuck together when hearts were broken but even more so when their farms and livelihoods were at stake.

‘Then suddenly, in groups of two or three, the councillors, irrigators, riparians and townies left the pub and went, united, into the black star-speckled night, the smooth barrels of their loaded guns frosted silver by the moonlight’

I felt quite sorry for Mandy, Mitch’s wife, her only aim in life was to be someone, to fit in, but the whole town despised her and where Mitch’s moments of infidelity were encouraged hers were frowned upon. I’d be very interested to know what other readers thought of Mandy and her actions. In today’s life where we expect everything, including our reads, to be fast paced and instantly gratifying this slow paced and slightly quirky novel may not appeal to everyone.

Content, for those who are sensitive to animal deaths; animals die in this story. *I received a copy from the publisher to read and review.

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