If you are looking for excellent examples of contemporary Australian literature, I think that Christos Tsiolkas is right up there. While the language is always harsh and sometimes brittle, the way that he constructs his books is impressive. You always get complex characters full of good and bad and they are always completely filled out and entirely visible in your mind. I’m an admirer.
The story of Danny and his swimming obsession, his terrible time at school, his attitude and eventual understanding and coming to know himself is often really hard to read. I often wanted to reach into the pages and give him a shake, but when you come to understand it all, you realise that he is not heartless, that his troubled soul has been formed and shaped by lots of things, not least of which is his family. You come to understand why he is driven to be the best and the fastest swimmer. This is a tragic story really one to carry around with you while you mull over the story. Really liked it.