The Secret River

“Strangers”, we are introduced to William Thornhill, who has been transported to New South Wales as a criminal. “There was no need of lock, of door, of wall: this was a prison whose bars were ten thousand miles of water” (p. 3).

Considering William’s confrontation on the first night, is the sentence ironic? In these few pages how is the alien landscape and his visceral reaction to it established? Why do you think that Grenville chose to begin the book with this out-of-sequence chapter?

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