Jasper Jones: a novel by Craig Silvey.
Charlie Bucktin, a bookish thirteen year old, is startled one summer night by an urgent knock on his bedroom window. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in their small mining town, and he has come to ask for Charlie's help. Terribly afraid but desperate to impress, Charlie follows him into the night.
Jasper takes him to his secret glade, where Charlie witnesses Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion. He locks horns with his tempestuous mother, falls nervously in love, and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.
Buy Jasper Jones.
Italia (Italy): Giano Editore.
Nederland (The Netherlands): Amazon Nederland.
New Zealand: Random House NZ.
Norge (Norway): Cappelen Damm.
Taiwan: PC Home, Solo Press/The Eurasian Publishing Group (link coming soon).
If you know of other bookstores or countries where Jasper Jones can be purchased, please let the curator of this website know.
Reviews of Jasper Jones.
The author’s keen ear for dialogue is evident in the humorous verbal sparring between Charlie and Jeffrey, typical of smart 13-year-old boys … A richly rewarding exploration of truth and lies by a masterful storyteller.
Silvey’s sure-footed, evocative prose, intelligent humor, and careful plot structuring may well ensure this Aussie import lasting status.
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, April 2011.
The mood and atmosphere of the 1960s small-town Australian setting is perfectly realized—suspenseful, menacing, and claustrophobic—with issues of race and class boiling just below the surface.
— The Horn Book Magazine, June 2011.
Silvey is a master of wit and words, spinning a coming-of-age tale told through the mind of a young Holden Caulfield.
— School Library Journal, June 2011.
Jasper Jones is a well-paced, eminently readable bildungsroman ... The exultation contained in the description of a cricket game featuring Charlie's irrepressible best friend is enough alone to earn this book sentimental-classic status.
Terrific...this is an enthralling novel that invites comparison with Mark Twain and isn't found wanting. Silvey is able to switch the mood from the tragic to the hilarious in an instant.
— Mail on Sunday.
A finely crafted novel that deals with friendship, racism and social ostracism ... Saluting To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Silvey movingly explores the stifling secrets that lurk behind the most ordinary of facades.
— Marie Claire.
Catcher in the Rye meets To Kill a Mockingbird in a novel that confronts racism, injustice, friendship and the tenderness of first love - as seen by bookish, guileless, 13-year-old Charlie Bucktin, led astray by the intriguing, dangerous eponymous outcast, Jasper Jones.
— Easy Living.
Impossible to put down ... There's tension, injustice, young love, hypocrisy ... and, above all, the certainty that Silvey has planted himself in the landscape as one of our finest storytellers.
— Australian Women’s Weekly.
Jasper Jones confronts inhumanity and racism, as the stories of Mark Twain and Harper Lee did ... Silvey's voice is distinctive: astute, witty, angry, understanding and self-assured.
— Weekend Australian.
Craig Silvey's Rhubarb was one of my favourite Australian novels of 2004 and heralded a major new voice in Australian literary fiction. His next offering in Jasper Jones is another beautifully constructed book with a page-turning narrative and outrageously good dialogue ... A meditation on innocence, yearning and coming of age in a quintessentially Australian setting, I have no doubt this novel will further cement Craig's place at the forefront of the next generation of Australian novelists.
— Dr Wendy Were, Sydney Writers' Festival.
View various book covers for Jasper Jones on Craig Silvey's Facebook.
According to Read Melanie Kembrey's article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Jasper Jones sold more than 600,000 copies (with two-thirds of those sold in Australia). (Archive.)
Craig Silvey on Jeffrey Lu: "I wish [he was] my best friend. I think Jeffrey might well be my proudest literary creation."
Craig Silvey on the 1960s: "[O]ne of the reasons I set [Jasper Jones] in the sixties, other than the fact that it dovetailed well with the southern gothic angle, was that the mid-sixties were supposed to be that watershed moment where Australia truly grew up. But one of the reasons that the period is so easily identifiable and recognisable in the book is because, well, maybe we really didn't. Maybe we just learned to be adult, rather than to really come of age."
Jasper Jones: feature film.
Read about the 2017 film directed by Rachel Perkins.
The following image is the cover for the movie tie-in edition of the novel:
Above: Left to right: Aaron McGrath (as Jasper Jones), Toni Collette (as Ruth Bucktin), Levi Miller (as Charlie Bucktin), and Hugo Weaving (as Mad Jack Lionel).
Jasper Jones: stage productions.
Here are details related to four stage productions of Jasper Jones. (Note: There have been many more stage production of this play.)
(1) Read about the first stage production, adapted by Kate Mulvany and directed by John Sheedy in 2014. The Perth-based production was produced by Barking Gecko Theatre Company and performed in July and August, 2014, at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia.
(3) Read about the third stage production, adapted by Kate Mulvany. It was produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) and performed in August and September 2016, at Southbank Theatre in Melbourne. Here is the MTC's archive page of the 2016 production. Following are archives of the MTC website's Jasper Jones page as it was in 2016: archive 1, archive 2.
(4) A fourth stage production was performed in Brisbane, in 2018, by Queensland Theatre. Performances of the play were at Playhouse, in July and August 2018. (Source, archive 1, archive 2.) Here are details about the past event on Queensland Theatre's website (archive 1, archive 2). Here's a photo of Craig Silvey with the cast and crew.
(5) In June 2019, a production of Jasper Jones at Bondi Pavilion Theatre, NSW. Adapted by Kate Mulvany. Directed by Nicholas Christo. The cast included Beth Daly, Elliott Weston, Nicholas Longthorne, Amy James, Tony Shim, and Callan Purcell.
(6) In July, 2019, another stage production was performed in Adelaide, by State Theatre Company South Australia in association with Flinders University and Dramatic Women. Ddapted by Kate Mulvany. Directed by Nescha Jelk. The cast included Emma Beech (playing Mrs Bucktin), James Smith (Charlie), Rachel Burke (Eliza), Elijah Valadian-Wilson (Jasper), Roy Phung (Jeffrey), and Rory Walker (Mr Bucktin).
Jasper Jones Reading Group Guide and Book Club Questions.
1. When you first read of Jasper’s discovery in the clearing, who did you think was the culprit?
2. Do you think that Charlie did the right thing in helping Jasper?
3. Why do you think Charlie agreed to become an accomplice?
4. Did you ever have a friend like Jeffrey?
5. What do you think the novel says about Australia in the middle of the Twentieth century?
6. Which of the characters do you think is the most courageous?
7. Discuss the role of the "Boo Radley" character in the children’s collective imagination.
8. What impact do you think the discovery of his mother’s transgression had on Charlie?
9. Do you think that the novel accurately captures the experience of adolescence, if so, in what ways?
10. Would you choose the spider hat or penis fingers?
Awards for Jasper Jones.
* Winner, National Year of Reading 2012, Western Australia.
* Overall Winner, Indie Book of the Year Award 2009.
* Winner, Indie Book of the Year 2009 - Fiction.
* Winner, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Book of the Year 2010.
* Winner, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2010.
* Winner (joint), 2009 Western Australia Premier's Literary Award - Fiction.
* Finalist, 2010 Sydney Morning Herald 2010 Best Young Novelist.
* Shortlisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award 2010.
* Shortlisted, 2010 NSW Premier's Literary Award - Christina Stead Prize for fiction.
* Shortlisted, 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards - The Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction.
* Shortlisted, 2011 International International Dublin Literary Award.
* Honor Book, 2012 Michael L. Printz Awards, USA.
* Nominated, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis 2013, aka the German Youth Literature Award 2013, Germany.
中国的 (Chinese) / 中国 (China) / 台湾 (Taiwan).
賈斯柏的夏夜謎題. (Language: Traditional Chinese. Chinese translation of Jasper Jones.)
Nederlands (Dutch) / Holland.
The Dutch translation of Jasper Jones.
Norsk (Norwegian) / Norge (Norway).
The Norwegian translation of Jasper Jones.
Craig Silvey on writing Jasper Jones.
Jasper Jones began as a name that wouldn't let me go. I tried, but I couldn't shrug it away, and it began to occupy my thoughts at a time when they should have been elsewhere. I was in the midst of a slow moving second novel and living my own private sophomore slump. In short, I was panicking.
I had this insistent story buzzing with energy, but I was married to a sluggish behemoth that was burgeoning out of my grasp and gradually becoming more oblique in its scope and purpose. I had a decision to make: impulsively follow Jasper Jones down to his glade in the dead of night, or see this thing through which I instinctively knew wasn't working. For a fastidious little man who stubbornly needs to shepherd things to their bitter end, the decision was a difficult one. But Jasper Jones was beckoning me all too urgently, and, like Charlie Bucktin, I followed Jasper through the town of Corrigan with trepidation.
Fuelled by the guilt of shelving what was my second book, I embarked upon The-Year-Of-Getting-It-Done, a foetid haze of twelve hour days when I rarely saw sunlight, and sought every excuse to remain burrowed in my Quasimodo hovel of self-indulgence.
Until eighteen months later, after Jasper Jones had gripped me so tightly in the beginning, I was finally prepared to let him go.
I've always been attracted to Southern Gothic fiction. There's something very warm and generous about those regional American writers like Twain and Lee and Capote, and it seemed to be a literary ilk that would lend itself well to the Australian condition. So I finished up with this strange little amalgam: a coming-of-age, regional mystery novel, stuffed inside a nervous little love story, garnished with family drama and adolescent escapism and anguish. And then there's Jeffrey Lu, who, I have to say, I wish were my best friend. I think Jeffrey might well be my proudest literary creation.
I wanted to explore a lot of things with this book, but one of my primary areas of consideration was the sloughing of innocence that is growing up, that moment where the bubble is burst and you're suddenly exposed to the real truth of things and the blind trust of childhood dissolves. What I try to address in Jasper Jones is that some folks learn to live as adults, but never quite grow up. They live without that critical filter, still inside that bubble, protecting its thin skin by still subscribing to the same myths that they've always abided by. And it's an insular way to live: fearful and insecure. And so there's this kind of dichotomy, where you can choose to know, to learn and challenge and question, which can be a sad, lonely and isolating thing, but ultimately a brave act; or you can never challenge that status quo, which invites the fear of the unknown, and allows myth and tradition to flourish. It's really that point that I wanted to test Charlie with: the burden of knowing, and the comfort of not-knowing. One being ultimately powerful, the other very fragile.
And so one of the reasons I set the book in the sixties, other than the fact that it dovetailed well with the southern gothic angle, was that the mid-sixties were supposed to be that watershed moment where Australia truly grew up. But one of the reasons that the period is so easily identifiable and recognisable in the book is because, well, maybe we really didn't. Maybe we just learned to be adult, rather than to really come of age.