Just finished "The Night of the Milky Way Railway" by Miyazawa Kenji. The idiot translator gave away the only plot twist in her introduction, the b*tch. Almost finished Shirley Hazzard's "The Great Fire", which boasts the wimpiest wartime hero since the Sword of Honour trilogy (mind you he was played on TV by Daniel Craig, so he must have had a bit of cred). Am about halfway through Roger MacDonald's "The Ballad of Desmond Kale". It's one of those 'convict Australia' sagas about an escaped convict sheep breeder who rustles some sheep and establishes the merino industry. It's a good yarn, has all the relevant convict slang ("traps, "grog",etc) and touches all the right cliches (flogging parson, drunkard governor, washerwoman with the heart of gold, inscrutable black tracker, etc). It won the Miles Franklin Award last year, which is our top literary prize.