Fredy Neptune A Novel In Verse

Les Murray

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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Praised internationally as a modern-day epic, Fredy Neptune is an astonishing addition to Les Murray's celebrated poetic achievement. As World War I begins, German-Australian sailor Fredy Boettcher witnesses frenzied mobs burning Armenian women to death in Turkey. The sight causes him, through moral shock, to lose his sense of touch. This mysterious disability protects and curses Fredy as he orbits the horror and humor of a catastrophic age. Told in a lyrical yet anti-literary blue-collar English, this picaresque narrative is deeply ironic but ripe with epiphany.


Praise for Fredy Neptune

"Murray's way with language and imagery is thrilling . . . He has given his protagonist a biting plebeian voice, a vernacular that soars."—Richard Eder, The New York Times

"Working-class lyricism undiminished in two hundred and fifty-three pages . . . You can rely on the unexpected to keep happening here, and always to be exhilarating."—Anne Stringfield, The New Yorker

"Highly charged in ideas as in language, Fredy Neptune may jump from sin to salvation and from Suez to Sydney in a single stanza, but it is no novelty act. Neither archer nor centaur, it is a novel. And a ripping good yarn."—Jonathan Levi, Los Angeles Times

"Murray's best work yet . . . [His] strong plot, clear scenes, and memorable characters control his poem: his style serves them, not the other way around."—Steven Burt, The Village Voice

"Fredy Neptune will give pleasure to any reader who delights in this poet's genius for finding the right turn of phrase, the illuminating metaphor, the vivid rendering of sensory experience. The book also makes history palpable and believable."—Richard Tillinghast, The Washington Times

"This is a haunting, loving, fiercely democratic epic by a master poet."—Ruth Padel, The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Les Murray

  • The widely acclaimed Australian poet Les Murray lives and writes on a farm on the north coast of New South Wales, where he was born in 1938. His books include Dog Fox Field, Translations from the Natural World, Subhuman Redneck Poems, Fredy Neptune: A Novel in Verse, Learning Human: Selected Poems, Conscious and Verbal, and Poems the Size of Photographs. In 1998, Murray was awarded the Gold Medal for Poetry presented by Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Les Murray Copyright Peter Solness
    Les Murray