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Prehistoric Joy

Andrew Sneddon



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Queensland Univ. Press
01 August 2023
Hailed as a real-life Boy Swallows Universe, a 'bold, brutal and unforgettable' memoir of growing up in the criminal underbelly of Queensland's Gold Coast in the 1980s.

If being powerless makes you jumpy, then being poor makes you envious. You notice when other people are happy and you become keenly aware of those things that they have, that make them happy, that you do not have. Sometimes, you know better than they do about what brings them joy.

Andrew Sneddon has made a name for himself in Australia and internationally as a successful archaeologist and heritage consultant. But his success belies his childhood- at the age of eleven, Sneddon finds himself living in the criminal underbelly of Queensland's Gold Coast. His conman stepfather has moved the family from suburban Canberra to chase his next scam. But in the 1980s, there is scant help for a woman and her three children who are ricocheting between domestic violence and homelessness.

As Sneddon charts the often frightening and sometimes farcical journey of his teenage years, he also reflects on them through contemporary eyes as an archaeologist. Told with candour and refreshing humour, Prehistoric Joy explores the importance of family and the timeless search for happiness.

Imprint:   Queensland Univ. Press
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 226mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   310g
ISBN:   9780702266157
ISBN 10:   0702266159
Pages:   256
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for Prehistoric Joy

'An unflinching memoir of poverty, domestic violence and alcoholism that plays out in the murky tank stream beneath one of the brightest and gaudiest places on earth - the Gold Coast of the 1980s. Sneddon's heartbreaking drama is also riven with flashbacks from ancient civilisation, giving it at once a universality that both illuminates and compounds his insights into the human condition. As the story unfolds we're reminded of how brilliant the human race has been, and also how utterly predictable and incapable of learning from its own past. Sneddon brilliantly captures the Gold Coast's recent history - the spivs, the crims, the booze, the pawn shops, the high-rise apartments and beer gardens, the violent husbands and apathetic police, all played out against the relentless and unchanged music of happy tourists and the relentless wash of the ocean. Prehistoric Joy is not for the feint-hearted, but it tackles the age-old malevolence of domestic violence with a fresh, original and empathic eye, and Sneddon's writing contains both the sharpness of a blade and the warmth of hope. Bold, brutal and unforgettable.' - Matthew Condon

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