Here is an unusual and beautifully written Australian memoir destined to become a classic that captures the vulnerability and ardour of youth, and the fragility and strength of parental love.
Robert Hillman has written a number of books including his 2004 memoir The Boy in the Green Suit, which won the Australian National Biography Award, and Joyful, published in Australia in 2014. His most recent book is The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted, published by Faber & Faber in 2019. He lives in Melbourne.
"One of the many attractions of this book is the wry affection
with which the older man is able to look back upon his younger
self. This is a tribute to both the writer and, in a sense, to
Hillman as a human being...The Boy in the Green Suit is an
exquisitely painful book about one of the besetting conditions of
modern life: restlessness...There's an old adage that you can
change the scenery but not yourself. Hillman tells that story with
poignancy and warmth."
--Michael McGirr, Australian Book Review
"The great challenge of all memoirs is to walk the
tightrope between personal reminiscence and stories which resonate
far beyond the author and his or her family and friends. Robert
Hillman achieves this balancing act nearly perfectly by mixing his
stories of growing up in Victoria, and his subsequent travels
around the world, with a wonderfully persuasive sense of innocent
and endearing daydreaming."
--Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald
"The book becomes the story of physical and psychic
survival, with a sub-plot around the story of Hillman's father,
recreated as a strong and deeply troubled presence. While it has
familiar familial themes, Hillman's complete lack of sentimentality
gives it a punch sometimes lacking in such memoirs. Further, when
the wild ride across the Middle East and parts of south Asia ends,
when the boy is home and the book is closed, readers may find
themselves only just beginning to marvel at the ordeal it
--Jill Rowbotham, The Australian
"Hillman's resilience alone makes this a memoir worth
reading. A childhood where he was thought to be simple, a mother's
desertion and much more, and yet the person shining through these
pages has a great charm and optimism."
--Anne Susskind, The Bulletin
"Robert Hillman's The Boy in the Green Suit is a perfect
miniature. It is a memoir of great sophistication and artfulness,
that is also dramatically moving and laugh-aloud funny...it is done
with unerring tonal control, and a mastery of diverse literary
skills--cameo characterisation, hallmark dialogue and a keen sense
of literary architecture."
--Judges' citation, National Biography Award