Dust reviews

Dust - cover 9781741664461Notable Book – CBCA Book of the Year Awards
Long-listed Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, Highly Commended by Judges Panel

‘Astonishing and fascinating . . . Christine Bongers has created a gripping and intriguing story which is difficult to put down and even more difficult to forget.’ 5-star review, TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN

‘Readers will find themselves swept along, unable to put the story aside. A fantastic debut novel.’ aussiesreviews.com

‘Powerful, evocative and warm, Dust is about the impact of fundamental moments that shape our identities.’ Notebook Magazine

‘Dust challenges readers to look beneath the surface to the beauty within ourselves and others. This is finely crafted writing, the language evocative, the charcters portrayed with sparse, vivid imagery – lightning flashes burned into the memory… It would make a good class novel for Yrs7-10.’ NSW Association for Gifted and Talented Children Inc.

‘Every so often, the tide will wash up that peerless shell – no, not the perfectly formed ones you can buy at any old store – but the ones with holes, and little cracks and a build up of residues that show you character, depth and a past. That was what it was like finding Dust by Christine Bongers…This is no glitz and glamour story. There are no wizards, werewolves or long lost fey…  This story is about a young girl growing up, and recognising and accepting the mistakes made by herself and by others, and making a choice to change and move forward – to let things go. Dust  is all Aussie heart and the events that shape a person.’ Sassi Sam Girlie Gossip Files

‘Dust has something of the flavour of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Both are very accomplished “first novels” …This is not a “preachy” novel, yet it will change the reader’s attitudes to prejudice and “difference”…

‘Young adults will appreciate its racy humour, its fluid narrative, and its page-turning suspense. Above all, they will respond to its depiction of a world that, though removed from the present by more than 30 years, nevertheless will resound forcefully with their own experience of adolescence. Older adults will appreciate the novel for its faithful recreation of the recent past, and its hard-nosed depiction of life in rural Queensland.’  Dust reviewed by Glyn Davies | ourbrisbane.com.

‘Bongers’ main character, Cecilia, is a smart, gutsy and lovable girl with a delightful rebellious streak. But this is much more than an Australian Anne of Green Gables. It is amusing and light-hearted, yet it steadily builds to a profoundly sad and disturbing crescendo. I loved it.’ 4 ½ STARS, Highly Recommended, Good Reading Magazine

‘This is a fierce, snarling, lively little tale, like being squashed into the backseat of an old Holden with a bunch of sticky kids. The raw authenticity of Christine Bongers’ first novel will appeal to readers in their mid-teens: there’s no danger of adult interference as Sis tells her story.

‘[Dust] is Thea Astley’s Australia from a child’s perspective: the individual torn between fitting in and staying true to their beliefs; the horrors and cruelty that happen behind the scenes as a rural community fails its individual members; the inexorable tragedy caused by crimes as mundane as ignorance and indifference.

…You need to slow down a bit, reading this book. As well as the story and the issues it raises there is Bongers’ delightful use of language… Some of her sentences are ready to escape the page and transform themselves into bits of poetry, which is all the more striking given that the subject matter is largely confined to boys’ farts, tractors and dust, the grim realities of farming ‘this sorry land and its tawdry broken promises.’ Viewpoint – on books for young adults, Volume 17, No 3, Spring 2009.

 “Christine is a novice writer and I believe her first book will create a minor sensation. She has captured the outback of the 70’s with an evocative and earthy flavour. Her story is complex, multi-faceted and sensitive-tough. This is as good as it gets, please show your English Department to allow for multiples.” Australian Standing orders, (Secondary Standing Order No. 6 2009)

“Dust is a novel of transition: from drought to flood, from childhood to adolescence, from innocence to maturity, and from ignorance to hard-won wisdom. Told in beautifully lyrical yet surprisingly tough language, the novel perfectly evokes an Australia also in transition, socially and politically. It provides with remarkable clarity a glimpse into another era and into the hearts and minds of its beautifully drawn characters. Although set some 35 years ago, the novel rings with truths about the human condition that young readers today will easily recognise and value.”  Judith Ridge, Teaching Support Kit, Dust

‘Bongers has written a book about a just-distant past which is likely to appeal to today’s teenagers. The issues of wanting to fit in, of not being understood, the fear of alienation, are constants for young people. Bongers’ characters know and feel these issues keenly. Dust will reward its readers.’ Courier Mail, 1 August 2009.

‘Well-written and incredibly evocative of the rural Australian setting and lifestyle, Dust is a challenging story that leaves readers contemplating the significant issues it raises. Bongers’ writing and characters are very engaging.’ Book Review – Dust by Christine Bongers: Challenging Debut YA Novel by Australian Author | Suite101.com.

‘Christine Bongers is a very talented and skilled author, with her first ever published novel, Dust, being a great success. Dust has a very intriguing concept; making readers eager to continue through the story of friendships, family and life in the 1970’s.’ Geelong Advertiser

  1. Ellie Verschaeren says:

    Hi Christine, I’m Ellie Verschaeren (was a Kooyman). Have just read your book “Dust”. Could not put it down. Enjoyed it immensely.

  2. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks, Ellie. Don’t you love how small the world is? I remember Joe and Cor Kooyman well; my brother did his apprenticeship with Kooyman Engineering; and my mum just bought a house in Joe Kooyman Drive in Biloela. She’ll be thrilled to hear that you’ve been in touch. 🙂

    • Jenny McGrath says:

      Hi Chris,
      My daughter has found out that she will be studying ‘Dust’ as part of their Yr 8 English course later this year at Stuartholme. Interestingly, my sister is a radiographer and lives (and works) in Biloela and was married to Cor Kooyman’s son ‘Brendan’. My own family grew up in Cecil Plains on the Darling Downs. I am very excited that my daughter is reading Australian stories that have a real connection to our lives. If she has any questions about the book – can she email you? Thanks, jenmcgrath

      • chrisbongers says:

        Hi Jenny, I visit Stuartholme and talk to the girls every October, so please ask your daughter to come up and say hello. I always like to leave plenty of time for questions – and usually explain what a party line is and why confession occurred in a curtained box in the 1970s – but with your background you’ll probably be able to answer most of her questions yourself! Thanks so much for getting in touch – everyone has a Bilo connection, don’t they?

  3. Michael says:

    Fantastic reviews Chris – just as they should be.

    • chrisbongers says:

      Thanks Michael, it is a strange and wondrous thing to see how my book is being received by strangers. It doesn’t belong to me anymore; it’s out there making its own way in the world.

  4. Chris Rowley says:


    Well done – funnily enough it sounds just like you and I will be ripping out to get a copy before they all run out.

  5. chrisbongers says:

    Now there’s a voice I haven’t heard in a long time! It’s in all the independent bookstores, Chris, as well as Mary Ryans and Borders, shouldn’t be too hard to find. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

  6. Theresa Lauf says:

    Congratulations, Christine. I spent about 8 yrs in Biloela recently, and time at QUT also. I’ll add your name to my post PhD reading list. Best of luck with it all, and see you in the trenches against the Productivity Commission Recommendations…. Australian voices must not be sold out.

  7. chrisbongers says:

    Good luck with the PhD, Theresa, and don’t worry, you and I will be occupying the high moral ground, not the trenches, where the PC is concerned. 😉

  8. Jacky Atkinson says:

    Just raced in and ordered a copy of Dust. Can’t wait to read it. Congratulations.

  9. Jordyn Lucas says:

    Dear Christine,
    Right now in my english class we’re reading your book called Dust and doing a big assignment that includes artistic impressions of characters and setting, themes etc. I was wondering if you would mind answering some questions that would help us complete our assignment, please.

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  13. agius says:

    Just ordered the book can’t wait to read it!

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