Set in Fitzroy and spanning the turbulent 1960s, Fitzroy Raw lays bare the experiences of an immigrant boy from the age of six to sixteen. Arriving in Australia from Macedonia, young Nick Mangos finds himself in a complex and challenging world. He must accept a ‘stranger’ as his father, negotiate old customs and hostilities, learn a third language, and come to terms with the realities of his working-class environment.
Each new formative experience – a dramatic wedding at the Fitzroy Town Hall, the discovery of body parts in the Edinburgh Gardens, an afternoon watching a football game at the Brunswick Street Oval, a life-changing visit to the Fitzroy Library – is registered with freshness and clarity.
The novel is also a ‘hallowing’ of Fitzroy, as one familiar location after another is given a name, a cast of real and unforgettable characters, and a chain of significant cultural and emotional associations.