The Fine Color of Rust by P. A. O'Reilly
A Novel

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Set in the Australian bush, a wryly funny, beautifully observed novel about friendship, motherhood, love, and the importance of fighting for things that matter.

Loretta Boskovic never dreamed she would end up a single mother with two kids in a dusty Australian country town. She never imagined she’d have to campaign to save the local primary school. She certainly had no idea her best friend would turn out to be the crusty old junk man. All in all, she’s starting to wonder if she took a wrong turn somewhere. If only she could drop the kids at the orphanage and start over . . . But now, thanks to her protest letters, the education minister is coming to Gunapan, and she has to convince him to change his mind about the school closure. And as if facing down the government isn’t enough, it soon becomes clear that the school isn’t the only local spot in trouble. In the drought-stricken bushland on the outskirts of town, a luxury resort development is about to siphon off a newly discovered springwater supply. No one seems to know anything, no one seems to care.

With a dream lover on a Harley unlikely to appear to save the day, Loretta needs to stir the citizens of Gunapan to action. She may be short of money, influence, and a fully functioning car, but she has good friends. Together they can organize chocolate drives, supermarket sausage sizzles, a tour of the local slaughterhouse—whatever it takes to hold on to the scrap of world that is home. Warm, moving, and funny, The Fine Color of Rust is “a story about love: where we look for it, what we do with it, and how it shows up in the most unexpected packages” (Big Issue, Australia).

About P. A. O'Reilly

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P.A. O’Reilly is a writer from Victoria, Australia. Her work has been published and broadcast widely in Australia and internationally. Her short story collection, The End of the World, was shortlisted for several awards. Her debut novel The Factory was broadcast in fifteen episodes as the ABC Radio National Book Reading in 2009. Find out more at
Published September 4, 2012 by Washington Square Press. 308 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Fine Color of Rust

Publishers Weekly

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Watching Loretta's children, 11-year-old Melissa and six-year old Jake, react to the unexpected appearance of their father and Loretta's ex, Tony, with his much younger girlfriend in tow, underscores O'Reilly's insight into fragile family dynamics.

Sep 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The Fine Color of Rust: A Novel


In Loretta Boskovic, Paddy O’Reilly (writing as P A O’Reilly) has created a truly endearing heroine who gives us all permission to dream.” Said Publishers Weekly: “O'Reilly's tale of a backwater Australian town seen through the eyes of Loretta Boskovic, who struggles to make ends meet and do goo...

Sep 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Fine Color of Rust: A Novel

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