Read Tree Palace by Craig Sherborne Online


They tried Mansfield but it was freezing and snowed and people like them don’t fit in because they don’t look prosperous. One time near Yellingbo they found a church no one prayed in and they lived there and for three weeks had stained glass for windows…They got chased out and went to Shepparton but Shane had a run-in and police said move.Shane, Moira and Midge, along withThey tried Mansfield but it was freezing and snowed and people like them don’t fit in because they don’t look prosperous. One time near Yellingbo they found a church no one prayed in and they lived there and for three weeks had stained glass for windows…They got chased out and went to Shepparton but Shane had a run-in and police said move.Shane, Moira and Midge, along with young Zara and Rory, are ‘trants’—itinerants roaming the plains north-west of Melbourne in search of disused houses to sleep in, or to strip of heritage fittings when funds are low. When they find their Tree Palace outside Barleyville, things are looking up. At last, a place in which to settle down.But Zara, fifteen, is pregnant and doesn’t want a child. She’d rather a normal life with town boys, not trant life with a baby. Moira decides to step in: she’ll look after her grandchild. Then Shane finds himself in trouble with the local cops…Warmly told and witty, Craig Sherborne’s second novel is a revelation—an affecting story of family and rural life....

Title : Tree Palace
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781922147325
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 327 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tree Palace Reviews

  • Carolyn
    2018-12-16 20:07

    Shane and his family of brother Midge, defacto Moira and her two kids, Zara and Rory are itinerants and live off whatever life throws their way. Shane makes a living stripping derelict houses of antique fittings and he and Midge alternate being on unemployment benefits. Seventeen year old Zoe has just had a baby who she doesn't want to look after, leaving Mum Moira to take care of him and fifteen year old Rory is struggling at school until Shane decides he should leave and join the family antique 'business'. Although battlers living on the very edge of society in a ramshackle house, family and loyalty is all important to the family and they stick together through good times and bad. This was an entertaining story showing an alternative slice of Aussie life.

  • John Bartlett
    2018-11-23 00:01

    This is a wonderful book, written in with a simple naïve style about a family of outsiders - outside the Law, outside 'normal' society but immensely attractive as characters, wounded by society but strong on the virtues that matter, loyalty and familial love and concern (in the end!).

  • Carolyn Mck
    2018-11-24 02:43

    I loved this novel from the moment I saw the cover and wondered what a chandelier was doing hanging from a tree. It turns out that one of the characters, Shane, makes his living by taking antiques from abandoned houses and selling them on through shady dealers. At one point, Shane brings home a chandelier which he hangs from a tree outside the dilapidated house where he and his family are squatting. "As night fell, no one disturbed the crystal hush by speaking. Moira served a meal while above there was a meal for the eye: the Milky Way wore white gloves and brought its best silver service. The chandelier glistened as they dined."Shane's 'family' are 'trants' - itinerants who have ended up squatting on the outskirts of Barleyville in the wheat lands of Western Victoria. The matriarch is the illiterate Moira, Shane's de facto. She is a wonderful character, full of her own brand of honesty, loyalty and love. Her two children (each from a different relationship) are alienated. Zara, at 15, has just had a baby, Mathew, whom she rejects and whom Moira needs to raise. Rory hates school and only starts to behave with more commitment when his stepfather includes him on one of his antique seeking trips. "I want to keep him out of trouble" says Shane." Teach him to pinch proper." There is also Midge, Shane's rather timid half-brother - an ex-jockey who suffers from old injuries and asthma. Through this ill assorted group of characters, the writer asks what makes a family and what makes a home.Using third person narrative and following different family members as they deal with what life throws at them, Sherborne has created memorable characters who show resourcefulness and resilience. He writes warmly about them so that we see their humanity and not their marginalisation and petty criminality. These are people that are scorned by the local establishment and harassed by those in authority but they are the sort of people the writer values and makes us value too. Sherborne writes particularly sensitively and intimately about his women characters. His other great strength is the way he writes about the countryside and the weather. He makes us feel the searing dry winds across the plains, the hailstorms, the autumn mists. We are right there, experiencing everything through all our senses as well as through our feelings and thoughts. The narrative drive of the novel did flag somewhat towards the middle of the book, but picked up again. It's an easy read and an optimistic and rewarding one.

  • Marianne
    2018-12-04 23:59

    Tree Palace is the second novel by Australian author, playwright and poet, Craig Sherborne. Moira, Shane, Midge, Zara and Rory are trants (itinerants). After many years of moving around, they have stopped at Barleyville, on the plains west of Melbourne, squatting in a derelict old cottage they call their Tree Palace, annexed by their caravan and a tent. Half-brothers Shane and Midge are accomplished at salvaging sought-after heritage-quality fittings from old homesteads. They are also experts at getting social security benefits whilst staying under the radar. They may be trants, and there may be no water or power laid on at their palace, but Moira still insists on certain standards in raising her children, Zara and Rory. And now there’s Mathew, fifteen-year-old Zara’s baby. But Moira finds that Zara is less than enamoured with the idea of motherhood, Rory is getting into mischief, the Police don’t like her driving without a licence and Shane’s business is running into problems. Sherborne gives the reader a revealing look at the world of itinerants and squatters, their principles and morals, their values, virtues and vices, their loves and loyalties. Readers may well gasp at the lack of guilt or conscience that his characters display when taking something they feel they need, be it a necklace from Salvos, a lead-light window from a homestead or a place to settle down. Nonetheless, his characters are familiar, see in any town, and their dialogue is natural and credible. Sherborne treats the reader to some wonderfully descriptive prose: “The best thing was the house. When they first saw it it no longer looked liveable because the grass sprouted in the roof and pushed up through the floor. That could be dealt with. It was old with a wrinkled feel the way the weatherboards had peeled and twisted. From the front it looked like a face with its open door hanging wide from the hinges and either side a window for eyes. Tattered blinds fluttered like eyelids and when birds flew out of the broken glass the window could have been blinking” is just one example. An eye-opening read.

  • Cath
    2018-11-25 01:01

    I really wanted to like this book and there was lots to like about it. The imagery of the Tree Palace and the landscape and towns, I know them well, was very well done. However, I thought this was a naively told story that failed to capture the reality of the lives of marginalised people, typically rife with physical and mental health issues, substance abuse and alcohol problems, violence, conflict and fractured relationships. This family would have been subject to endless harassment from police and town locals, probably much more violence and abuse as well. Not to mention the involvement of government departments such as Centrelink and Child Protection. People who live on the edge live different, much more fraught and complex lives than depicted in this book. In the end it felt like a bit of a fairytale, and not a satisfying one.

  • Mandy
    2018-11-28 01:52

    Very good. This is a simple story of family life in the country with an intriguing cast of characters, dishonest yet with a strong code of right and wrong. Set in rural Victoria and with such a sense of place that you can smell the rain as it heads across the dry paddocks and watch the tree chandelier swing and tinkle in the wind.The last of the Miles Franklin shortlist and what a ripper of a list this year. If there is resurrection then I just hope I don't arrive back and find myself on the judging panel! I do, however, agree with their choice of Sofie Laguna but Sonya Hartnett is oh so close behind.

  • Mark
    2018-12-17 03:43

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters were colourful, but real, and despite their itinerancy, there was a great warmth and love in their family unit. The main message to me is that here is this family who struggle to find a home and make ends meet, but who gain happiness from simple things. I also like the "Australian-ness" of the locations and characters. They were well described and added flavour to the story.

  • Nicole McCann
    2018-11-30 04:11

    Loved this sad sometimes happy story of a family of squatters set in rural Australia. There was love in there somewhere holding the family together by a thread throughout. Beautifully written, I re-read a few passages as you do, because it sounded so eloquent in parts and I loved the way he described the rural locations, very accurate.

  • Athene Alleck
    2018-12-02 23:05

    Loved this ... Couldn't stop thinking about the characters and hoping for a happy ending but fearing the worst. Have an urge to try and draw Tree Palace. So evocative ...

  • Cel Jel
    2018-12-12 21:52

    This book was a book club read. I had read reviews in the paper about it, and did not have it on my list of reads, because there are so many books to read.I will say that in many ways I did not enjoy the story BUT I will also say that the author depicted the area of Victoria Australia that the book is set in very well. He also depicted the strata of characters in a country town really well. So his writing is good, and his story was well structured. Just not a story that I enjoyed reading, but perhaps actually that was good, because it has made me think at odd times of those on the outer of society.

  • Clare Smith
    2018-12-06 21:43

    This is an interesting book. Sometimes the word nice can indicate not quite good enough but in this case that is the word that keeps coming to mind to describe this book and it is definitely good. It's nicely written, not beautiful but definitely nice. The pace of the story is so languid I could feel the lassitude coming over my body as the heat of the Australian countryside baked me. This slow but deliberate building of the story also gave me a sense of the style of the trant community, or what perhaps I perceive it to be. A need to live life at your own pace and within your own rules and boundaries.I didn't like any of the characters particularly and yet once again the word is nice if I were to give a description of them. There was a theme of redemption throughout that made me feel these are nice people although while I appreciated the subtleness of this theme throughout the story, the ending was a little ordinary for me.It was nice to read of a group of people who I had never really thought about before. I've read novels about itinerant people before sure but never have I heard or read of this specifically Australian group of folk. Really it is everybody's story, in that essentially the story is all about how we do all we can, in any way we can to live the best life possible for ourselves and our families.

  • Alison
    2018-12-02 23:44

    This was one of those you really want to like more than I did. I can't comment on the accuracy of the portrayal of life for the underclass in rural Victoria, as it isn't something I know anything about. The simple writing style leads to some beautiful language - it isn't a surprise Sherborne is a poet - but also serves at times to create a sense of 'simple' in the thinking of the main characters, which seems false. There is almost a dream-like quality to their social isolation, as if the expectations and day-to-day of the mainstream are obscured to them, which was certainly not my experience of urban poverty, and I suspect is a simplistic take on social exclusion. On the other hand, the equisite detail of the trap-upon-trap that poverty and that exclusion imposes rang very true.More significantly though, the book just dragged, despite the lovely language. I was never sure what the point was, and while the ending implied a journey, I'm not really sure the rest of the book really earned that.

  • Ruby
    2018-12-16 19:49

    Life is short, and my back log of books is only getting longer. For this reason, I have a new rule: a book gets 100 pages to grab me. If I'm still non-plussed, it's shelved, and probably abandoned.I won't rate this book because I don't think it is fair to rate a book I haven't finished. I fancied a book about itinerant people living by their wits, and this was not cutting it. I got bored.To be fair, I seem to be caught up in a phase of finding non-fiction books far more interesting than novels. It might be just me. I am impatient and hearing the siren call of David Sedaris. Time to move on. Sorry.

  • Ros
    2018-12-17 19:56

    A very interesting read. At first all we know is the number of people living at Tree Palace. Some of the main characters' names are not gender specific so the reader is seeking any clue to unravel who these five people are and how they are related. In fact all is not clear until a visit from the police half way through the book. The author asks his characters to take on roles they normally wouldn't as circumstances change. Readers are kept off guard when characters do not behave in the way we imagine they should. My dissatisfaction came from everyone being 'improved' during the story. Given their starting points this seemed highly unlikely.

  • Melissa
    2018-12-13 00:44

    I also wanted to like this book. In the beginning I felt sorry for the characters but in the end they just annoyed me. Living the way they did, always working out ways to scam everyone, believing that they didn't need education but then struggling because they didn't have one. I couldn't help but wonder if society had let them down or they chose their lifestyle and were happy that way as they knew no other? I wanted there to be an improvement in their lifestyle as a result of things that had happened to them, and I guess for them to learn, maybe it is me who had too high expectations and missed the point of the book?

  • Calzean
    2018-11-28 20:12

    A modern day "Mice and Men"?Very cleverly written. A "family" of itinerants start to grow some roots in a remote rural Victorian town. Their income comes from welfare and petty thieving. Shane and his step brother, Shane's partner Moira, Moria's two kids and the new grandson are the family.They live on canned food, instant noodles and their ability to adapt or not desire many things. While they are not perfect their is a lot of charm in their way of life.

  • Bernie
    2018-11-19 20:11

    I was totally enchanted by the Tree Palace. This was one of those books where the characters endear themselves to you despite their rather awkward lives and thinking's.I was sorry for the book to end and rather hope that maybe Craig would write a sequel. It would be lovely to read about the Tree Place once more and the life these characters have made for themselves. Also Craig has a beautifully descriptive way of writing which swam smoothly with the story line.

  • Ashley Hay
    2018-12-14 22:47

    I loved this book. I loved its writing, and I loved its characters. I loved its characters so much that, as I started getting closer to the end of its story, I had to email Craig Sherborne to make sure that its characters were going to be, well, OK. He sent through something reassuring, and I read on. And it was the best ending that I could have hoped for this story and its people, in so many ways. I know this is a book I'll come back to, again and again.

  • Carina
    2018-12-01 01:58

    Colourful and fun - with no melancholic stillness in sight -, an affectionate nod towards flawed families. However not as promising plot wise as it originally purported to be. Original story threads were bold and unexpected, but it turned instead to then tying up some loose ends and shying away from further complexities.

  • Jillian
    2018-12-14 04:05

    I really enjoyed this tale of a group of 'trant's in the Victorian countryside who make a living just on the outside of the law. The characters were interesting and well-developed, and their faults clear to see.

  • Neil Steggall
    2018-12-08 21:48

    This is a great book, well written in a naïve yet very evocative style. The characterisation is brilliant, the storyline compelling and it opens up our minds as to right and wrong and the layers that make society a wonderful composite.

  • Laurel Kinross
    2018-11-17 22:49

    A thoroughly enjoyable read. the characters are totally captivating and Sherbourne has the ability to make you fall in love with the "trants" and their lifestyle. Highly recommended.

  • Wendy Orr
    2018-12-04 23:08

    Quirky and delightful

  • Monique
    2018-12-16 20:06

    I loved this book. Lovely story, beautifully written.