Craig Sherborne


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‘Muck is a masterpiece.’ —Raimond Gaita

‘The dynasty has started with my father as the founding father and me his only son, the founding son. He looks forward to the day when he can watch his grand children out there in the clover-covered paddocks frolicking among the cowpats. Playing with a pony, getting stung by bees. The most wholesome activities in the world ...’

His parents have bought a big dairy farm, to be their estate and his legacy. On it they plan to build a grand manor house, where they can live out their fantasy of being self-appointed aristocrats while keeping him—their pride and heir—away from the local gold-digger girls. With staff to milk the cows and break in the race-horses, he is free to prepare himself for his illustrious future—principally by poncing about like Lord Muck.

Muck is about what happens when things go wrong—hilariously, tragically—on the path to adulthood. Set in Sydney and New Zealand, it features a cow called Miss Beautiful, an encounter with the Prime Minister, and a church-going atheist who sings like Dean Martin. It is about overbearing parents, farm life, mental illness and the extremes of human vanity. Most of all it is about a young man and the world he constructs in order to survive his family and—somehow—discover a self of his own.

Praise for Muck

While this is, psychologically, a complex and cleverly (poetically) executed piece of writing, it is by no means precious or difficult to read. At a modest 193 pages, it races through five years of a family’s life together, leaping from dramatic event to dramatic event without unnecessary linking exposition. While this book certainly doesn’t aim to confound the reader, it doesn’t condescend either. It is a fitting, equally entertaining, follower of Sherborne’s last memoir, Hoi Polloi.

Praise for Craig Sherborne’s Hoi Polloi

This boyhood memoir, partly set in the Hawkes Bay, is one of those rare things—a constantly entertaining narrative which also makes you think. Bill Manhire

A scalding memoir, funny, fast-moving, shot through with a fierce pathos.
Helen Garner

Sherborne is a master storyteller, and Hoi Polloi could well become a literary classic. Good Reading Magazine

Craig Sherborne’s memoir Hoi Polloi was published in 2005. He is also the author of the verse-drama Look at Everything Twice for Me and two books of poetry, Bullion (1995) and Necessary Evil (2006). Sherborne’s journalism and poetry have appeared in most of Australia’s leading literary journals and anthologies, including Black Inc.’s Best Australian Essays and Best Australian Poems. He was born in Sydney.