The Great World is a remarkable novel of self-knowledge and of fall from innocence, of survival and witness. Absorbed by the twentieth-century history of Australian life, the novel focuses on the unlikely friendship of two men who meet as POWs of the Japanese during WWII: Digger Keen, and Vic Curran. For both men, war was supposed to be a testing ground of masculine and nationalist virtue. Instead, it becomes an ordeal that lays bare the painful reality which lies behind a nation's myth of itself.
"The rare serious novel that doesn't condescend to its characters, this book has a limpidity and an elliptical sense of time that save it from becoming a blockbuster-style epic--despite having some of that form's easy pleasures--and render it poetic."-- The New Yorker