Praise, by Andrew McGahan

wasn’t a man of strength. I waited until the end of the shift. I closed up the shop. Then I resigned. Quietly. The manager asked me why. He asked me if it was something personal. There wasn’t much I could say. I was tired. I felt it was time to wind that part of my life down. Work wasn’t the answer to anything…

Three days after his twenty-third birthday, Gordon quits his job in a Brisbane bottle shop. He has seven hundred dollars in the bank and no plans to look for another job. He doesn’t know what he’ll do and he doesn’t care. Why should he?

Praise is a story about being young and hopeless in the Australia of the early 1990s. It isn’t a feel good book and in places is quite dark, but it feels pretty real and has a pathos which keeps the reader turning pages and, if they were young in those times (as this reviewer was) nodding knowingly.

Gordon lives in a world where sex, alcohol and drugs are far more important than work, and where planning for the future seems futile. In fact, for Gordon, the future is little more than waking up tomorrow and doing the same things over.

Praise won the Vogel award in 1991 and has been re-released in conjunction with author McGahan’s other, subsequent, books, including 1988, a prequel to this offering.

A gritty read.

Praise, by Andrew McGahan
Allen & Unwin, 1991, this edition 2005