The Last Pulse
A blackly funny novel about an unlikely hero, and his misadventures on the flood he has created.
In the drought-stricken Riverland town of Bartel in South Australia, after the suicide of his wife, Merv Rossiter steals a boat. He trucks north with his eight-year-old-daughter Em into Queensland. There he blows up the dam at Waroo Station, releasing a flood through outback New South Wales into South Australia.
As the authorities search for them, Merv and Em ride the flood south in their stolen boat, rescuing a Queensland Minister from the water, and then a young blackfella who fancies he sang the river to life all by himself.
Meanwhile, in Canberra, the political flotsam carried by Merv's renegade ocean brings the Federal Government to its knees.
The Last Pulse is the story of the last flood that will ever flow down the inland artery that was the Darling River. The stream is broken now and the agriculture and lives of South Australians have been appropriated with the water by a people a thousand kilometres to the north.
Throughout their misadventures on his flood, Merv promises his daughter they will be heroes in South Australia, and that they are sailing towards victory parades and happiness. The other crewmembers, however, know he is heading towards a violent reckoning with Australia itself.
Blackly humorous, poignant, timely, The Last Pulse is Anson Cameron's finest work to date.
The novel is vibrantly witty, scathing in its social analysis. It belongs, as well, to the return over the last few years by some of our most accomplished writers to the outback, the interior, to the sites of old Australian legends and tall tales where new ones are being born.
The Sydney Morning Herald
It’s a delight, and it’s more effective in making its point than wider, po-faced narratives.
Blackly humorous, poignant, timely, The Last Pulse is Anson Cameron's finest work to date