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A body is found in the sandhills on the southern coast of New South Wales. David is an archaeologist, leading a team of students digging up the sandhills, searching for evidence of a Portuguese ship he believes was wrecked there in the fifteenth century.

Hideously disfigured by injuries he received in New Guinea during the Second World War, Kurt now lies dying in a small shack near the sandhills. All his life he, like David, has been obsessed by the stories of the ship. When David meets Kurt, he believes the old man has the answers he so desperately wants. Answers he will do everything to discover ...

The story swings back and forward in time, from the days of the Portuguese sailors and their fiercely protected maritime secrets, to the politics of history in a 1930s university, to the playing out of David's obsession in the present.

Erotic, sensuous and erudite, Wrack draws the reader into a web of lies, sex and mystery in a novel that is as unusual as it is beautiful.

From Publishers Weekly

03 May 1999 – A seamless fusion of dramatic wartime love story, historical fiction and archeological murder mystery, Australian writer Bradley's accomplished debut novel has a dreamlike compulsion. Archeologist David Norfolk, obsessively searching for a 16th-century Portuguese ship wrecked on the coast of New South Wales, digs up the body of a man shot to death 50 years earlier. An Ondaatjean hermit, cantankerous, cancer-ridden and living in a nearby shack, holds the clue both to the victim's identity and the ship's whereabouts. As David and his ex-girlfriend Dr. Claire Sen tend to the dying recluse, Kurt Seligmann, and resume a romance of their own, they listen to their patient reminisce about the years 1937-1942, when he was an archeologist from Sidney, living in occupied Singapore and embroiled in an affair with the wife of his mentor and best friend, Fraser McDonald. (The corpse on the beach, it turns out, could be Fraser.) Seligmann, too, once searched for the wreck that Norfolk seeks--a ship that, if found, could challenge Tasman and Cook's claim to have discovered the continent and would explain the presence of the land mass on Renaissance maps. Bradley adroitly interpolates details of the fierce rivalry between the 16th-century Spanish and Portuguese empires, and fascinating lore on mapmaking. His prose, which alternates between clipped, declarative statements and lyrical, metaphor-filled cadenzas, may make too sweet a meal for some readers. The novel's concluding words--"the past is... a shifting sea with nothing at its center, except illusions, and loss"--exemplifies the kind of generalization that weakens this otherwise suspenseful story. Yet Bradley's skill in interweaving the novel's strands to create a graceful meditation on death, ambition and obsession creates a memorable novel. FYI: Wrack won two Australian literary awards and was shortlisted for the 1998 Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book.

Customer Reviews

Book is cancer

The book is incoherent and there are many points in the book which make zero sense.

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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: 01 September 2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
  • Seller: Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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