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Australian popular novelist, a natural storyteller, whose career as a writer extended over 60 years. Jon Cleary's books have sold some 8 million copies. Often the stories are set in exotic locations all over the world or in some interesting historical scene of the 20th century, such as the Nazi Berlin of 1936. Cleary also wrote perhaps the longest running homicide detective series of Australia. Its sympathetic protagonist, Inspector Scobie Malone, was introduced in The High Commissioner (1966). Degrees of Connection, published in 2003, was Scobie's 20th appearance. Although Cleary's books can be read as efficiently plotted entertainment, he occasionally touched psychological, social, and moral dilemmas inside the frame of high adventure.

Jon Stephen Cleary was born in Sydney, New South Wales, into a working class family as the eldest of seven children. When Clearly was only 10, his father Matthew was condemned to six months' imprisonment for stealing £5 from his baker's delivery bag, in an attempt have money to feed his family. Cleary's mother, Ida, was a fourth-generation Australian. From his parents Cleary inherited a strong sense of just and unjust and his belief in family values.

Cleary was educated at the Marist Brothers school in Randwick, New South Wales. After leaving school in 1932, at the age of fourteen, he spent the following 8 years out of work or in odd jobs, such as a commercial traveler and bush worker – "I had more jobs than I can now remember," he later said of the Depression years. Cleary's love of reading was sparked when he began to help his friend, who had a travelling library. His favorite writers included P.G. Wodehouse. Before the war Clearly became interested in the career of commercial artists, but he also wrote for amateur revues. In 1940 he joined the Australian Army and served in the Middle East and New Guinea. During these years Cleary started to write seriously, and by the war's end he had published several short stories in magazines. His radio play, Safe Horizon (1944), received a broadcasting award.

Cleary's These Small Glories (1945), a collection of short stories, was based on his experiences as a soldier in the Middle East. In 1946 Cleary married Joy Lucas, a Melbourne nurse, whom he had met on a sea voyage to England; they had two daughters. His first novel, You Can’t See Round Corners (1947), won the second prize in The Sydney Morning Herald’s novel contest. It was later made into a television serial and then into a feature film. The Graham Greene-ish story of a deserter who returns to Sydney showed Cleary's skill at describing his home city, its bars, and people living on the margin of society. Noteworthy, the book was edited by Greene himself, who worked for the publishing firm Eyre & Spottiswoode and who gave Cleary two advices: "One, never forget there are two people in a book; the writer and the reader. And the second one was he said, 'Write a thriller because it will teach you the art of narrative and it will teach you the uses of brevity.'" (In an interview by Ramona Koval, ABC Radio program, February 2006)

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31.05.2014

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PublisherThe Reader's Digest Association
Pages count559
File size6.1 Mb
eBook formatHardback, (torrent)En
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