Magpie: WINNER of the 2023 Carousel Aware Prize (Hardback)

  1. Magpie: A tender Irish journey into the broken heart of Australia, by Alan Ryan.

Once upon a time in the outback…


It’s 1990 and Jim Macken talks to trees. He dances around the fire and has made peace with the flies. In a bid to escape a mundane life, the broken-hearted Irish backpacker has gone walkabout in the West Australian Goldfields. The scorched land is hurting. The summer rains never came and the temperatures soar.


On a rare trip to a remote inn, an assault brings Jim’s day to a premature close. He sleeps outside, sprawled across the wide front seat of his beat-up truck. A body lies in the dirt. The evidence, much of it manufactured, suggests Jim is a killer, and Kelly Porcini, the disillusioned barmaid, is an accessory to murder.


Fearing for their lives, Jim and Kelly flee into the hostile interior of the continent. Along the way, the young couple find a beautiful but damaged country. There is the possibility of love and the opportunity for betrayal. Ultimately, an ancient and indigenous Dreamtime landscape may decide how their stories end.



⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Reader Reviews

‘A beautifully written and told story.’ Irish Scene Magazine Australia


‘Loved the descriptions of life in the outback in an Irish voice — the prose flowed beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!’


‘A wonderful word picture of the Australian outback. The story seems based loosely on actual events in the area. The local references and the period references add to the good yarn. I would recommend this book to everyone.’


‘I was completely absorbed by this well told story that transported me to the wild, hostile beauty of Western Australia. Populated by expertly drawn and relatable characters, the novel is tense, atmospheric and well paced. I highly recommend this gripping book!’


‘A good tale kept me rooting for the underdogs to the end hope there’s going to be another one soon.’


‘Great story. Not your usual type of hero, just an average guy in the wrong place wrong time.’


‘A wonderful read. Captures the desolate landscape of Western Australia so vividly. I need to go Walkabout.


‘An intriguing page-turner, well worth your time, highly recommended.


‘A fantastic read! Beautifully descriptive writing, deftly plotted, with characters to both love and hate. Highly recommend.


‘Fab book! Real page Turner’

‘A cut above the usual.’

‘This is a fascinating read. Enjoyed it a lot.’

‘This is a GREAT book!! LOVE ❤️ it!’


ISBN: 9780954852979

Seller Bio

Sold by: Gone Walkabout Books
As with most things in his life, Alan Ryan took his time writing Magpie. The idea first germinated thirty years ago when he lived in a tree. Over the intervening years, Alan experimented with different careers, most notably working as a geologist in Australia. In middle age he took up long distance triathlon. Slow and steady, it suited his temperament. Aged in his forties, he set an Irish Ironman record and has known success at world level. Around this time, he became a father. He lives in Wexford with his wife and two children. When not writing, he paints oil paintings, and still enjoys the odd run, bike or swim. You can catch up on all the latest Magpie news or check out Alan's paintings at Follow him on social media. He welcomes feedback from readers.

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Magpie: WINNER of the 2023 Carousel Aware Prize (Hardback)
Magpie: WINNER of the 2023 Carousel Aware Prize (Hardback)

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