ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Barnaby Joyce’s stirring debut novel, ‘Weatherboard & Iron: Politics, The Bush And Me,’ has been sitting untouched in a Sydney ‘Street Library’ for over a year, according to one local resident.

Upon discovering the 2018 post-modernist neo-gonzo novel in his street library, Annandale man Joe Grout said his little yuppie toes almost curled right off.

The story follows the life of a man from the NSW New England and his ‘Forrest Gump’-inspired journey from the fertile plains of Danglemah to the heights of Australian politics – and back again.

“I thought, of all the books to find in my street library, I find his,” said the 45-year-old home-owning part-time graphic artist.

“See the street library in the picture I sent you, I built that with my own hands. I filled it with quality literature. Think Penguin classics, marvels of Australian literature like Cloudstreet and The Solid Mandala. I even put contemporary classics like ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ and one by Liane Moriarty. I even painted it,”

“I can’t help but think Barnaby himself put the book in there to mess with us, us Annandale residents. Check the Hansard; he has a bee in his bonnet over this suburb.”

Between 2010 and 2018, Mr. Joyce mentioned ‘Annandale’ over 650 times during parliamentary debates. The Advocate asked him why, and he simply laughed and said the Hansard was wrong.

The current Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs also remarked that he takes offense to the book being labeled a ‘novel,’ telling our reporter that it is, in fact, a memoir.

“Look, people are entitled to say whatever they want about [the book], I’m not Richard Flanagan or even Robert Steinbeck, sorry, it’s John, isn’t it? I’m just a man from Danglemah. Although my father did say that we could be related to James Joyce. You read the last few pages of Ulysses out loud, and that’s the closest you’ll ever get to understanding what it’s like to sit next to Bob Katter on a flight up to the tip [laughs]”

“We can’t have Street Libraries in Armidale. Kids would set them on fire every night. So that sandal-wearing prick in Annandale should be happy he has one.”

‘Weatherboard & Iron’ has been optioned by Stan this year, and Lachie Hume is reportedly attached to play the central character, Barnabas.

More to come.


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