Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island

by Chloe Hooper


Year: 10, 11, 12


The Tall Man is the story of Palm Island, the tropical paradise where one morning Cameron Doomadgee swore at a policeman and forty minutes later lay dead in a watch-house cell. It is the story of that policeman, the tall, enigmatic Christopher Hurley who chose to work in some of the toughest and wildest places in Australia, and of the struggle to bring him to trial. Above all, it is a story in luminous detail of two worlds clashing – and a haunting moral puzzle that no reader will forget.

'The country's finest work of literature so far this century. A haunting moral maze, described with such intimate observation and exquisite restraint that I kept pausing to take a breath and silently cheer the author . . . [I]n her tale of the fatal collision between two 36-year-old males, black Cameron Doomadgee and white Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, Hooper . . . has produced an Australian classic.' Robert Drewe, The Age

'Hooper followed the case and its main characters for two and a half years, and she does their complexity a remarkable justice . . . Extraordinary.' Alison McCulloch, New York Times Book Review

'A gripping, heart-stopping piece of true-crime reportage . . . Deserves the widest possible audience.' Brian Schofield, Sunday Times (UK)

'The book is everything it should be: a sad, beautiful, frightening account of one man's death, interwoven with the brutal history of Palm Island and a golden thread of Aboriginal mythology . . . It is The Tall Man's triumph that Hooper finds the common humanity in the accused and the accuser, the police officer and the street drinker, the living and the dead.' Mark Dapin, Sydney Morning Herald

'The north has chosen to reveal itself to Chloe Hooper.' Paul Toohey, Weekend Australian

Selected for 'Best books of the year' lists by Ali Smith, Colm Tóibín, Matt Condon, Peter Carey, Salon.com, The Globe & Mail and Dwight Garner in The New York Times.