ISBN: 9781921924965 Format: Trade PB 368pp Rights: All rights: Transit Lounge Release / Publication Date: 01 /04 /2016
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Reading group notes available for download here


The last bushrangers in Australian history, James and Patrick Kenniff, were at the height at their horse thieving operation at turn of the 20th century. In One, troops cannot pull the Kenniff Gang out of the ranges and plains of Western Queensland – the brothers know the terrain too well, and the locals are sympathetic to their escapades. When a policeman and a station manager go out on patrol from tiny Upper Warrego Station and disappear, Sergeant Nixon makes it his mission to pursue the gang, especially, Jim Kenniff, who becomes for him an emblem of the violence that resides in the heart of the country.
From the award-winning author of The Mary Smokes Boys, One is a novel of minimalist lyrical beauty that traverses the intersections between violence and love. It asks what right one man has to impose his will on another, and whether the written law can ever answer the law of the heart?

Patrick Holland is a novelist and short story writer. He is the author of seven books, most notably The Mary Smokes Boys (2010), which was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and is currently being made into a feature film. His work has been recognised by awards including the Miles Franklin, the Dublin Literary Award, the International Scott Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and has been published, performed and broadcast in Australia, the USA, Hong Kong, the UK and Ireland, Italy and Japan. Patrick is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Hong Kong Baptist University and divides his time between Hong Kong and Brisbane.

This novel approaches the likes of Voss and A Fringe of Leaves as Australian  literature of a superior kind.  Certainly,  Holland’s spartan prose style and compelling descriptions of the outback  environment are a dazzling combination … One may well rank with the best Australia has to offer  in 2016.

Dean Biron, Australian Book Review June- July 2016

The simple narrative is deceptive, as it allows Holland to bring in a wealth of themes, from the abhorrent violence of Australian colonisation, to the moral choices we are asked to make when the law is almost non-existent. But probably most telling is Holland’s focus on the last bushrangers in Australia, turning the brothers into a metaphor for the inevitable change of time. The Kenniffs spend a lot of their time on the outskirts, in towns civilisation hasn’t yet reached, but they know it’s coming and it is in part responsible for their unravelling.

This is the seventh book by Patrick Holland, who is quietly eking out his place as one of this country’s most accomplished writers. Each of his books is sure-footed and incredibly interesting, and with One he has definitely retained this reputation.

Chris Somerville, Readings Monthly, April 2016

It sounds raw and confronting, but One is a thoughtful novel that begs the question: what is the law and what makes it work so that people can feel safe and secure in their lives? And also, what can society offer to support those who are ready to choose repentance and rehabilitation?

Lisa Hill, ANZ Lit Lovers

April 15, 2016


The most distinctive feature of One is Holland’s addictive, sparse style. He can evoke the roaring openness of the outback in a sentence and his tight dialogue is revealing and real. Holland’s minimalist prose ushers you urgently through a thrillingly unique and morally tense Australian historical novel. Four stars

Angus Dalton,  Good Reading Magazine April 2016  


This is a book about mythology and tall tales, and a country still deeply enamoured of these narratives. The Kenniffs are both feared and revered, their exploits regarded as near-magical by an exhausted nation. “People who don’t know either of those boys from a bar of soap will hate me for it,” says Nixon late in the novel, capturing the country’s continued fascination with the outlaw lifestyle. Despite the occasional misstep, One is as singular and focused as its title.

Adam Rivett, The Australian 21 May 2016


Holland is aiming for beauty. “I’m trying to strip out anything the reader can fill in for themselves and doesn’t add any poetry. The composer Arvo Part said one note played beautifully is enough.”

As a reminder of Part’s aesthetic precept Holland placed the word “one” at the top of the manuscript, and no one is more surprised than the author that it squirrelled its way into the story’s very DNA. One man single-mindedly pursues the Kenniff gang to the ridgetop, one gang member stays his ground, one lone tracker breaches the hideout, and one love unites hunter and prey.

Linda  Morris, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age  27 May 2016