Read Gone by Jennifer Mills Online


There can be no straight road home.A young man is released from a Sydney prison, his hands empty, his identity gone. He catches a southbound train out of town, then hitchhikes west. He hasn’t been home for fifteen years. For days Frank rides the highway through an unforgiving landscape, surviving on what he finds and the kindness of strangers. As he edges closer to a homeThere can be no straight road home.A young man is released from a Sydney prison, his hands empty, his identity gone. He catches a southbound train out of town, then hitchhikes west. He hasn’t been home for fifteen years. For days Frank rides the highway through an unforgiving landscape, surviving on what he finds and the kindness of strangers. As he edges closer to a home he struggles to remember, his boyhood looms. Out of the past, something is coming that will tear through his fragile hold on reality. Chilling, haunting, suspenseful, Gone is a journey through one man’s splintered world....

Title : Gone
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780702228870
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 303 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gone Reviews

  • Lisa
    2019-04-03 04:03

    Gone, by Jennifer Mills, is a remarkably good book. I couldn’t put it down, and now I’m sorry I’ve come to the end of it.A man, nameless, is on the road after his release from an institution. At first it’s not clear whether it was a mental institution or a prison because he is disoriented and confused. He’s been released into the void with a voucher for a government support agency that – by the time he gets his act together to use it - is past its use-by date. He’s directed to a charity that gives him a rudimentary meal, some clothes, a sleeping bag and a backpack. There he abandons his former identity along with his clothes, and begins to use the name Frank because that’s the name on the backpack. He then sets off to hitchhike to the West – for reasons that are not made clear to the reader until the very end of the novel.The journey of over 4000 miles across Australia is both psychological and literal...To read the rest of my review please visit Jennifer's first book is available as an eBook and so I feel confident that this one will also soon be more readily available for overseas readers - visit Jen's blog to contact her about that.

  • Jane
    2019-03-29 02:19

    It has been some time since there was a book I just wanted to keep reading not because I needed to find out what happened, but because it was just such a good book to be in. I felt like that about Gone. The writing was so precise, the things it described largely so alien to my own experience. I got to be someone else for a while, to see the world in an entirely different way. ‘Frank’ is the ultimate unreliable narrator: he has no idea who he is or what’s real or how he got here or what has happened to him, so there’s no way we can trust any of what he tells us. Even as Mills reveals bits and pieces of his mental illness, his fantasies, we never get to a point where we actually know what has happened to him or who he is. With his made-up name and a quest for a house that exists only in a photo he found at the bottom of someone else’s backpack, with his ‘memories’ which seem almost or entirely stolen from other people he meets along the way, ‘Frank’ is a protagonist you can’t get to know at all. Somehow, though, he is sympathetic, even though his identity is so fluid and he is ruthlessly and uncaringly self-centred (this was a revelation for me – the idea that you would steal things from people who had been kind to you without even trying to rationalise it to yourself – thanks, Jennifer for giving me an insight into the brain of someone who would do that). And kindness happens all around him – it was good to see an Australia where people were willing to risk themselves and their possessions to help out a stranger, with no hope of any reward (not even a thanks or a smile from ‘Frank’).It was good to read this just after Evie Wyld’s ‘All the birds, singing’ was awarded the Miles Franklin. I think ‘Gone’ covers some similar ground to ‘All the birds’ – the protagonists’ blurry relationship with their past, the sense of something awful in their background catching up with them, the air of dread, the immersion in landscape – but I felt like Mills nailed it in a way Wyld didn’t quite. The ambiguity at the end didn’t feel as forced, and the dread felt more bone-chillingly awfully deep. Anyway, who can fathom why some books get famous and others don’t? ‘Gone’ deserves a far bigger audience, and a place among the books Australia reads to understand itself.

  • Trisha
    2019-04-22 09:05

    This is definitely one of those books that will, I'm pretty sure, stick with me for a long time. It deserves 5 stars really, but I think I have to give it 4 because I can't imagine that i'll ever read it again. There was also a part where I was so disgusted I was sure I couldn't read on at all - it involved the death and maltreatment of puppies, albeit on an outstation (you know how kittens are drowned on farms and so on). But I did read on and I'm glad, though I can't say it was any sort of feelgood story, even if it ended on a note of hope.It's a really sad story though it has plenty of moments that had me bursting into surprised laughter. It's the story of a young guy who gets out of jail in Sydney after 15 years, and makes his slow way home hitchhiking. He's making his way across the vast Australian landscape, heading west at first before diverting in a route straight north from Port Augusta (north of Adelaide). He meets all sorts of kind (and often weird) strangers on his trip, and makes this incredible journey largely on their generosity.By the end of the story we're still not really even sure why he was in jail, but there are hints. I was expecting that he might have been blamed for killing his brother and his little sister. To be honest I'm not even convinced that his brother killed his little sister, but I think that's what happened. Anyway, realistically to go to jail in Sydney I figure he'd have had to do some crimes closer to NSW, so maybe he left Halls Creek and went East, and got put in jail over there. But to be in there 15 years it'd have to be some serious crime. Which is why I thought he could've been blamed for his sister. And we're still not sure what happened to Jake, by the end of the story. My guess is that our guy killed him, but I can't know for sure.Some of my fave quotes from the story (there were more earlier on but I hadn't started keeping track of them back then):p.144 - "Shit, I don't touch that stuff now. I'm all clean living these days, been sober nine years. Have to be, you turn into a blob otherwise in this job. On your arse all day like a fucken koala." He pats his small stomach.p.154 - "The train has all the grandness of a marching band...""The marching train goes out of tune as it rattles past."p.162 - "The country is definitely desert now, and it's a relief to see the real thing after so much practice. Purple hills hang in the distance, the ground thin and crackled, rust-coloured like the roof of the van. From the air, the highway must look like it's barely a scratch on the country's paintwork. They pass broken windmills, a shot-up Welcome sign to a long-dead tourist attraction, an abandoned car sticking up out of the saltbush like the shell of a giant beetle."p.171 - "They pass a sea of saltbush frozen still, spotted with fat merinos like grey clouds that have shrivelled tight and come down to earth."p.191 - "I want to put a museum in. Think about it. The pioneers. Imagine coming to this big empty land and turning it into--" He waves at the world in wonder, though it looks like it's managed to avoid being turned into anything.p.215 - "Where are you headed?" The truckie is forty-odd, cheerful. An encouraging smile."Up north," Frank says."Where, pacifically? Darwin or what?""Yeah."..."Where's you come from?" the truckie says."Sydney," Frank says. He hopes the trucker won't ask where, pacifically.p.266 - Her stance is wary. She's a teenager, crafter-faced, her eyes ringed with a bruise-blue shadow.He takes the things and puts them on the tray. He waits for her to leave him alone, but she lingers."Are you like a derro?" she says. The word has a weird sound in her mouth. He might be an exotic animal.I loved the interaction with Vic and Ralph early on, and the driving stint with Bill, whose drug-running ways got our guy put back in jail if only overnight.The story was interspersed with present-day moments in Frank's life (btw, we're never sure his name is really Frank) and flashbacks to his nasty childhood. The story of his sister was saddest of all.All in all I would say that Jennifer Mills is an amazing writer and I loved that this story was set in Australia, with great description of the landscape Frank passes through. Though the Australian desert can be truly gorgeous with its breathtaking colours, etc., I still maintain that I'm bloody glad I don't live out there! It's hot enough here on the coast. ;)I finished this book with a bit of "oh my God, how sad!" and yet wondering where Frank would take his life now that he's finally free. I did fear a little bit that he might end up dying if he found his home, but that didn't happen (that I know of!).

  • Lauren K
    2019-04-24 02:10

    This isn't your typical roadtrip novel. Mills takes us on a psychological journey as we tag alongside the mysterious young man released from prison. He assumes the name Frank, collects some clothing, a backpack and sleeping bag from a Sydney charity service and then begins to head west. Thumb out to hitch a ride, Frank makes his way into the outback by accepting rides from a variety of folk with their own stories to share. Although, Frank is quite reserved and wants to leave his past behind, it seems his past has other ideas.We learn of Frank's early experiences with his tough father and an older brother who made my stomach quesy. The fear and anxiety young Frank experiences about his brother is very realistic and to be honest his brother sounded like the making of a sociopath. When his father goes out for work one day and doesn't return, leaving Frank at home alone with his baby half-sister Lizzie and the looming shadow of his brother, Frank does what he can to keep his little sister safe. It's not until the very end of the story that Mills reveals what Frank is searching for, how his youthful life ended and how his adulthood will begin. What really stood out to me about this story was the Australian setting, the land, the people and the changing cultures of each passing town. I think this drew me in the most because I am planning a roadtrip at the end of the year from Sydney to Perth via the desert so I was completely immersed in the scenery and the outback experience.3.5/ 5 rating

  • S.B. Wright
    2019-04-04 04:20

    I have been delighted by Mills writing since I bought a chap book of her poetry, Treading Earth. Large parts of Gone remind me very much the writing contained within that collection, particularly her observations of the minutiae of human interaction.Another spill over from her poetry are the raw observations that are both economical and evocative.Gone is both a road trip and a mystery. The road trip is an examination of an Australia that most readers, I would argue, are not used used to reading about.The route is one generally only frequented by those that live in the major regional centres along the Stuart highway, the odd combi-van hiring tourist, selected grey nomads and truck drivers. It’s sparsely populated, vegetated and for the most part bone dry - the real Australia for a lot of people. It’s refreshing then to have a narrative of Australia that isn’t “Kings in Grass Castles” or some faux bohemian, inner city “Secret Life of Us” story – important though each of these is.Equally refreshing is the landscape and interactions viewed through the eyes Frank, a member of two underclasses; the ex-con and the sufferer of a mental illness.Frank as an invisible and fragmented observer presents the reader with a largely non judgemental picture of the land and its people and allows Mills to present the route and the characters as free from judgement as possible (hers at least). The reader is left to make the judgement and come to their own conclusions.Mills has written for left leaning publications like New Matilda before and there’s always a danger that when you have a character representative of a social underclass that some of those views might bleed through into the characters voice. Not so with Frank, his fractured psyche doesn’t really allow that sort of coherent thought to be put into his mouth, he’s got his hands full working out who he is and where he’s going. There’s mentions of topical issues, like mining, but these are in the form of dialogue spoken by those who give Frank a lift and they come across as honest and genuine.Similar to the observations of landscape, the reconstruction of Frank’s past requires a fair bit of effort from the reader. Mills is deliberately ambiguous with his fragmented remembering's, which works well with the presentation of Frank as someone who is suffering a severe mental illness. The reader is drawn in to trying to figure out what Frank’s done or is doing. It’s hard to like him in that sense, I never really felt totally at peace with him, could never entirely trust the character. I have sympathy up to a point but that sympathy is tempered by an uneasiness as to what Frank might be capable of or have done.Gone is not a book that I think you can fall in love with nor a book that you can sit down and enjoy as a light piece of reading. It requires some effort and careful reading (some of it between the lines) particularly when it comes to piecing Frank’s life together. I enjoyed the observations of and interactions with, the people who Frank comes into contact with on “The Track”.Some may be unsatisfied with the ambiguity surrounding Frank’s life but I think it’s the only honest way to portray the character. There were some humorous instances and there were some eerily suspenseful and gut wrenching revelations. I can heartily recommend it for tight and evocative prose, for an honest representation of an ex-con and someone suffering a severe mental illness.If you are looking for a unique Australian narrative Gone is it. Disclaimer: The book was provided by the author at no cost Note: I usually only award 5 star reviews for work that gets to me on an emotional level. Gone wasn't that kind of book for me but I struggle to give it only 4 stars, as that doesn't seem to fairly represent the quality of the work.

  • Carolyn Mck
    2019-04-01 08:09

    I read and really enjoyed Mills’ first novel, set in a small coastal town in NSW. The Diamond Anchor referred not only to a pub but also to how a person can be anchored in one place all their lives. In that novel, Mills showed how she could get inside the mind of a character from a different generation and also how she could create a very strong sense of place. Her writing was both precise and subtle and I was keen to read something more from her.GONE couldn’t be more different in its tone, characters and settings. In this novel, a nameless young man is released after fifteen years of incarceration in Sydney. Instead of picking up his rehabilitation cheque, the man is somehow driven to head for a place he thinks of as home – somewhere in northwest Australia. He has no possessions, no money and no name except the one he adopts (Frank) from the name on a backpack he finds and takes with him. As he hitchhikes across country to Port August and thence north through Alice Springs, Katherine and then west, he relies on the strangers who pick him up to give him a bit of a feed, a bed for the night, a casual job or even money. Gradually, as he heads northwards, we are given snippets of the back story that formed Frank’s character. There is an increasing feeling of dread as the novel progresses and an expectation that by the end we will understand what made Frank the alienated and dispossessed person he is. But don’t expect any easy answers!This is a depressing novel on so many levels – Frank’s personality, the neglected childhood that is gradually revealed, his twisted relationship (real, imagined?) with his brother Jack and also the country that he travels through, which is rarely described in anything but negative terms (as seen through Frank’s eyes). The only positives are the people he meets along the way – each an outsider in his or her way. Frank is rarely grateful to them either. I found this a hard novel to read because of its depressing subject matter but the remarkably fine writing, the interest of life on the road and the increasing tension all kept me returning to it almost compulsively. Mills creates memorable characters and startlingly real places, though in such a different way from her first novel. I wonder what she will do next?

  • Michael
    2019-03-29 07:02

    Jennifer Mills's second novel gone is a downbeat tale both grim and wry in its delivery. The story goes of a man named Frank who is recently released from Prison, Frank is destitute but not broken as he sets of from Sydney across the country. Franks seeks closure by going to his childhood home and trying to find his family. The story is tolled with the present day of Frank going by any means possible to go west towards home including trains, buses and hitchhiking.Frank passes through many a town on his journey and encounters all mannner of people. While many choose not to speak to him and see him as a bum others happily offer him rides, money, food and company. Frank slowly thanks to people and other means makes his way across the country even getting picked up by the police at one stage. His flashbacks to his childhood that describes living with a drunken abusive father, his sister and brother at times seem obvious and forced but they do give a good insight into why Frank is the way he is.Mills has done a great job with Gone, the main character Frank is brought across as intriguing, seemingly astranged from the world and himself and someone very observant of others. The story also is very Australian with the towns he visits many would know including Port Augusta and Woomera to name a few. My only real complaint is that Mills goes into too much detail alot of the time with explaining things that could be explained in fewer words. Overall though gone was an excellent read, although slow paced i did not find it boring as i was curious to know what drove Frank to make the trip.

  • Jo Case
    2019-03-24 04:08

    Taciturn loner Frank is just out of prison for an unnamed crime, hitchhiking from Sydney to his childhood home, in the far west of Australia. This is a psychological thriller of sorts; the narrative driven by a desire to discover what Frank is running towards, and what he’s running from. The reader must piece the story together from shards of inherently unreliable information: Frank’s memories and reflections, and the observations of strangers. Gone is a classic road story, as much about the journey (and the landscape covered) as the final destination; shadowed by a creeping sense of the sinister. Frank encounters murder scenes, abbatoirs, missing people, brawling brothers and fellow ex-cons. “He wonders if murder and suicide and scars just come up like this all the time, in everyone’s conversation, or if it’s a highway thing.” But he also meets with extraordinary kindnesses. Ultimately, this blend of violence and warmth characterises the book, the country travelled, and Frank himself.This is an impressively crafted novel set in the world beyond the “embarrassingly thin” fringe of life that is coastal Australia.This review was first published in The Big Issue in 2011.

  • Rachel Watts
    2019-03-24 04:19

    Mills’ style is just amazing. Her attention to detail, her very careful placement of words and concepts, is so minute. So painstaking. I enjoyed her tone and the way she allowed the reality, memory, misremembered ideas and forgotten past to swirl together, all eddies in the same river. She crafts a story that is out of focus, but intense. Suspenseful. A little disturbing. Full review here: http://leatherboundpounds.wordpress.c...

  • Book Bazaar
    2019-04-22 08:11

    I feel bad giving this a low mark, but I really had trouble finishing it - kept putting it down and going on to other things. Some of the language is beautiful and the premise is clever, but I just couldn't get in to it.

  • jesse
    2019-04-04 02:05

    kindle it? €7.60