Friday 8 November 2019

Book Club Book Review: Taking Tom Murray Home by Tim Slee

Taking Tom Murray Home
Tim Slee

Publisher: Harper Collins Australia 
Publication date: 22 July 2019
RRP: $32.99 AUD
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Format Read: Trade paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty and Lace 


Bankrupt dairy farmer Tom Murray decides he'd rather sell off his herd and burn down his own house than hand them over to the bank. But something goes tragically wrong, and Tom dies in the blaze. His wife, Dawn, doesn't want him to have died for nothing and decides to hold a funeral procession for Tom as a protest, driving 350km from Yardley in country Victoria to bury him in Melbourne where he was born. To make a bigger impact she agrees with some neighbours to put his coffin on a horse and cart and take it slow - real slow.
But on the night of their departure, someone burns down the local bank. And as the motley funeral procession passes through Victoria, there are more mysterious arson attacks. Dawn has five days to get to Melbourne. Five days, five more towns, and a state ready to explode in flames...

Told with a laconic, deadpan wit, Taking Tom Murray Home is a timely, thought-provoking, heart-warming, quintessentially Australian story like no other. It's a novel about grief, pain, anger and loss, yes, but it's also about hope - and how community, friends and love trump pain and anger, every time.


Taking Tom Murray Home has a true Australian feel. The small farming community of Yardley bands together after Tom Murray is accidentally killed whilst burning down his own home. This was Tom’s act of defiance when the bank threatened to foreclose on his mortgage.
Narrated through 13 year old Jack Murray the story is heart-felt as Jack tries to understand his father’s death in his own way. We quite often get jack’s somewhat naive look on events.
Dawn Murray decides to pack Tom’s coffin on a milk cart drawn by a draft horse and take the trip to Melbourne, a journey of six days, where he will be buried. They garner much support along the way and with the inclusion of media and police Dawn has to remind everyone this is a funeral procession not a protest.
I quite enjoyed this story about people coming together to support each other but I’m not sure they achieved much. Told through the eyes of a thirteen year old the story is slow going and there isn’t much description of the surrounds. The inclusion of the condition of Analgesia was well plotted and believable. I don’t think I’ve come across this in a book before.

 My rating  4/5 
This review is from the Beauty & Lace Book Club 
@beautyandlacemag #beautyandlacebookclub 
and part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge 
Tim Slee is an Australian journalist with a wanderlust. Born in Papua New Guinea to Australian parents who sprang from sheep country in the Mid-North and Far North of South Australia, he worked for several years for the Stock Journal in Adelaide before moving to Canberra and then Sydney where he worked for the Attorney General's Department. Since then he has lived in Denmark, Canada, Australia and is currently on contract in Denmark again with a multinational pharmaceutical company. Although, according to his favourite airline, he has been around the world with them 22 times and visited 54 countries, Australia is still his physical and emotional home base. Taking Tom Murray Home is his first novel, and the winner of the inaugural Banjo Prize 



  1. I really need to read more Australian fiction. This sounds pretty good.

    1. I read a lot of Australian fiction. We have some very good authors here.