Asking for Trouble
There are things in his past that Harry Bascombe definitely doesn't want to remember. But when a nosy journalist with a taste for scandal turns up out of the blue, he is forced to confront his memories...An uncertain and diffident boy, Harry struggles to survive a suburban upbringing in the 1950s - the era of Menzies and the menace of Reds under the bed, the excitement of the Melbourne Olympics and the arrival of television in Australia. Family life is complicated, with an ineffectual father, a highly strung mother who is leading a double life, and an older brother who is 'not quite himself'. School is no easier. Harry is tormented by embittered sports master, Mr van Enst, and his thuggish classmate Derek Knowles. However hard young Harry tries to stay out of trouble, it seems he is always 'asking for it' - Mr van Enst and Derek Knowles certainly think so. Unwittingly, Harry becomes trapped in a spiral of murderous violence and intimidation that he can neither understand nor resist. Darkly funny and brutally frank, Asking for Trouble is a surprisingly tender and moving novel about the corrosive power of secrets and the consequences of standing up to bullies.