The Boy in the Green Suit, by Robert Hillman

Robert Hillman has yearned for years to visit an island described by his father – a green island where he will be loved by sarong-wearing women, and be expected to do little more than write. So, at sixteen, he boards a ship bound for Ceylon, wearing a green suit and with a typewriter and a suitcase full of books.

With no money in his pocket and no visa in his passport, Hillman finds himself not in Ceylon, but in Athens. With no money and no job, he travels through Istanbul, Tehran and Kuwait. He finds work washing dishes, teaching English and even as a maitre de at a ritzy hotel. But most of the time there is no work, and Robert is forced to hitch rides, beg and barter his possessions to survive. Finally he ends up in a prison on the border of Pakistan, where he finally begins to see and accept who he is and to find the acceptance he has long craved.

Intertwined with the travel tale are tales of Hillman’s childhood and of his family, particularly his father’s tale of struggle and sorrow. These stories show the reader where the young Hillman has come from and glimpse where he is going.

The author, Robert Hillman, was born in 1948 and grew up in rural Victoria. After many years of teaching, he now works as a full-time writer, living in Warburton, Victoria.

The Boy in the Green Suit is an unforgettable tale.

The Boy in the Green Suit, by Robert Hillman
Scribe, 2003