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Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y separately published work icon The Arsonist single work   non-fiction   crime  
Alternative title: The Arsonist : A Mind on Fire
Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 The Arsonist
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The Arsonist takes readers inside the hunt for a fire-lighter. After Black Saturday, a February 2009 day marked by 47 degree heat and firestorms, arson squad detectives arrived at a plantation on the edge of a 26,000-hectare burn site. Eleven people had just been killed and hundreds made homeless. Here, in the Latrobe Valley, where Victoria’s electricity is generated, and the rates of unemployment, crime and domestic abuse are the highest in the state, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn’t know.

'The Arsonist tells a remarkable detective story, as the police close in on someone they believe to be a cunning offender; and a puzzling psychological story, as defence lawyers seek to understand the motives of a man who, they claimed, was a naïf that had accidentally dropped a cigarette.

'It is the story not only of this fire - how it happened, the people who died, the aftermath for the community - but of fire in this country. What it has done, what it has meant, what it might yet do. Bushfire is one of Australia’s deepest anxieties, never more so than when deliberately lit. Arson, wrote Henry Lawson, expresses a malice ‘terrifying to those who have seen what it is capable of. You never know when you are safe.‘

'As she did in The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper takes us to a part of the country seldom explored, and reveals something buried but essential in our national psyche. The bush, summertime, a smouldering cigarette - none of these will feel the same again.'  (Publication summary)

Notes

  • Dedication: For Don

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2018 .
      image of person or book cover 4134536387754563895.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 272p.
      Description: illus., map
      Note/s:
      •  Published 15 October 2018

      ISBN: 9780670078189

Other Formats

  • Also sound recording.

Works about this Work

Shelf Reflection: J.P. Pomare Joshua Pomare , 2019 single work interview
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings [Online] , February 2019;
Logic in the Ash Jack Cameron Stanton , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2018;

'On 7 February 2009the Black Saturday bushfires ravaged Victoria and ended the lives of 173 people. At the site of the fire that started in Churchill, a town in the Latrobe Valley, detectives found evidence suggesting it was intentionally ignited. Not far from the site, they discovered ‘a sky-blue sedan parked at an odd angle by the grass verge of Glendowald Road. The car looked to have stopped suddenly’. As the detectives gathered witness reports, they heard that during the bushfire, an unusual man was spotted wandering through the blaze, carrying in his arms a tiny dog. The results from the sedan’s plates return, and they discover it is owned by Brendan Sokaluk, a LaTrobe Valley local. From there, The Arsonist, by Chloe Hooper, proceeds in three parts—The Detectives, The Lawyers, and The Courtroom—and ends with the conviction of Brendan Sokaluk.'  (Introduction)

Chloe Hooper : The Arsonist CG , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 20-26 October 2018;

'On February 7, 2009, following 12 years of drought, and on a day when temperatures soared to 45 degrees, bushfires burned across the state of Victoria. The fires, of unprecedented ferocity, killed 173 people, injured hundreds more, and a million animals perished in the flames as well. The fires reduced 3500 buildings, 2000 of them people’s homes, to char and rubble. One of the worst-affected areas was Central Gippsland, where the fire began in a eucalypt plantation outside the town of Churchill and burned through 26,000 hectares.'  (Introduction)

'Who Would Become an Arsonist?' : Chloe Hooper on Black Saturday and the Nuances of Blame Chloe Hooper , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 12 October 2018;

'The Tall Man author says her new book is not a polemic on climate change but a portrait of the ‘monster in our imagination’' (Introduction)

What Makes an Arsonist? : Examining the Events of Black Saturday Fiona Gruber , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 405 2018; (p. 22-23)

'The language we use to describe fire, Chloe Hooper points out, gives it a creaturely shape: it has flanks, tongues, fingers, a tail. It licks, it devours. Fascinated by its mythic force, we talk about taming a fire as we talk about taming a beast, but when it comes to vast tracts of bush, we can only contain it and wait for another natural force, the weather, to extinguish the flames.'  (Introduction)

What Makes an Arsonist? : Examining the Events of Black Saturday Fiona Gruber , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 405 2018; (p. 22-23)

'The language we use to describe fire, Chloe Hooper points out, gives it a creaturely shape: it has flanks, tongues, fingers, a tail. It licks, it devours. Fascinated by its mythic force, we talk about taming a fire as we talk about taming a beast, but when it comes to vast tracts of bush, we can only contain it and wait for another natural force, the weather, to extinguish the flames.'  (Introduction)

'Who Would Become an Arsonist?' : Chloe Hooper on Black Saturday and the Nuances of Blame Chloe Hooper , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 12 October 2018;

'The Tall Man author says her new book is not a polemic on climate change but a portrait of the ‘monster in our imagination’' (Introduction)

Chloe Hooper : The Arsonist CG , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 20-26 October 2018;

'On February 7, 2009, following 12 years of drought, and on a day when temperatures soared to 45 degrees, bushfires burned across the state of Victoria. The fires, of unprecedented ferocity, killed 173 people, injured hundreds more, and a million animals perished in the flames as well. The fires reduced 3500 buildings, 2000 of them people’s homes, to char and rubble. One of the worst-affected areas was Central Gippsland, where the fire began in a eucalypt plantation outside the town of Churchill and burned through 26,000 hectares.'  (Introduction)

Logic in the Ash Jack Cameron Stanton , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , November 2018;

'On 7 February 2009the Black Saturday bushfires ravaged Victoria and ended the lives of 173 people. At the site of the fire that started in Churchill, a town in the Latrobe Valley, detectives found evidence suggesting it was intentionally ignited. Not far from the site, they discovered ‘a sky-blue sedan parked at an odd angle by the grass verge of Glendowald Road. The car looked to have stopped suddenly’. As the detectives gathered witness reports, they heard that during the bushfire, an unusual man was spotted wandering through the blaze, carrying in his arms a tiny dog. The results from the sedan’s plates return, and they discover it is owned by Brendan Sokaluk, a LaTrobe Valley local. From there, The Arsonist, by Chloe Hooper, proceeds in three parts—The Detectives, The Lawyers, and The Courtroom—and ends with the conviction of Brendan Sokaluk.'  (Introduction)

Shelf Reflection: J.P. Pomare Joshua Pomare , 2019 single work interview
— Appears in: Kill Your Darlings [Online] , February 2019;
Last amended 24 Sep 2019 14:39:17
Subjects:
  • La Trobe Valley, Gippsland, Victoria,
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