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In seeking to capture the angst of a 19-year old city boy struggling out of the cocoon of adolescence into adulthood in the middle of the 20th century in rural Victoria, this does a pretty good job of communicating some of the insecurities and preoccupations of both the character and the times

The country school teacher should be the friend and philosopher of the district.'Inspired by this message from his college lecturers, the idealistic and zealous 19 year old Doug O'Connor takes up his first appointment to a remote one-teacher school in a decaying Australian country town.Friend and Philosopher is an honestly written story, told with warmth, tenderness and insight. Entering that painful period when the child must become an adult, Doug encounters a series of reversals for which he is ill equipped, and struggles to come to a better understanding of himself.Tense and engaging, Friend and Philosopher captures the awkwardness and confusion of youth, celebrates the loss of innocence and deals with profound and complex issues in a candid and compelling way.'There is a warm irony in the title of Noel Braun's first novel. Braun has not rushed into print. He introduces himself by saying he has been mulling over this book for decades, not years. His story bears the mark of an older man in affectionate conversation with a much younger one. It is impressive.Set in the early 1950s, this novel is also a paean to a forgotten army of young men and women who, with little more than chalk, went into battle in small country schools. We have plenty of war stories. It makes a change to read about coming of age in the years after World War II. Doug O'Connor is 19. He leaves Melbourne to take a job in a one-teacher school on the dusty side of Swan Hill, dreaming that his students might come to think of him as a friend and philosopher.Doug is as green as they come, but there is enough substance in the character to be prepared to invest in what happens to him.'- Michael McGirr Sydney Morning Herald


Friend and Philosopher

  • Noel Braun
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