Scoundrel Days: A Memoir

Scoundrel Days: a memoir by Brentley Frazer (UQP, 2017)
Scoundrel Days: a memoir by Brentley Frazer (UQP, 2017) 1st edition cover. Art by Josh Durham [Design by Committee]

Scoundrel Days: a memoir “Tom Sawyer on acid, a 21st-century On the Road, a Holden Caulfield for punks … an extraordinary memoir of a wild adolescence, told in a compelling, poetic voice.”

In Scoundrel Days Brentley Frazer tells the story of his youth – wild, disillusioned, impassioned and desolate. Born into a Christian cult in outback Queensland, Frazer escapes through literature and poetry, drugs and violence, sex and alcohol; and his ensuing rejection of religion, authority and the ‘way things are’ leads to adventures, desperation and, just possibly, redemption. Beautifully written and urgently told, Scoundrel Days is a visceral, compelling assault on the senses. An at times brutal story articulated with a poet’s sensibility, it portrays a walker of edges exploring the dark side while searching for the love essential to build a soul.”

Frazer, Brentley (2017). Scoundrel days. St Lucia, Qld. University of Queensland Press


Brentley Frazer’s memoir, Scoundrel Days, provides us with that rarest of literary treats: a good dose of the shocking … an immersive, vital prose that almost drags the reader along. This is not your ordinary memoir. Think of it more as an autobiographical novel or creative nonfiction … Frazer is writing here in the tradition of Helen Garner, Andrew McGahan and Nick Earls. This is dirty realism at its dirtiest. If, like I do, you remember the 80s and 90s as times of bohemian excess, you’ll find a lot to enjoy in Frazer’s terrific book.The Australian

… a visceral and urgent internal perspective which is both direct and poetic, often charming, and sometimes bleakly funny . . . Under it all lies a dark, nihilist void where, like Gordon in Andrew McGahan’s Praise (1992), expectation is seen as the root of unhappiness. But unlike Gordon, who slouches towards destruction content in the acceptance of a flawed physicality, Frazer oscillates between bravado and mo- ments of self-awareness. This enigmatic, self-styled outsider bravely lets us into the inner sanctum, which makes for a fascinating read.Australian Book Review

“Poet and author Brentley Frazer recounts his rebellious youth with searing honesty in his memoir Scoundrel Days. Gritty with a lyrical cadence, the characters and violent, drug-fuelled, sexually-charged experiences he recounts are compelling for their raw detail and darkness. Frazer’s innate attraction to dissent, his untamed spirit and how it shaped his young life will sometimes shock, but makes reading his words an addiction in itself.” —Cushla Chauhan, VogueVogue Magazine

“Scoundrel Days pays homage to lost boys who grow up to be troubled young men. Frazer ramps up the speed, scattering memories like used tissues… Frazer is a legendary protagonist, in the vein of Bukowski’s literary alter-ego … His writing is sometimes compared to that of Andrew McGahan, in particular McGahan’s coming-of-age novel Praise, but Scoundrel Days spends little time examining the consistency of its author’s bodily fluids. Instead, he uses that nervy present-perfect tense to take us further, faster, harder. It has more in common with the hyperbolic, ugly-beautiful prose of Kathy Acker.” —Jenny Valentish, Sydney Morning Herald

Scoundrel Days: a memoir by Brentley Frazer News & Reviews



University of Queensland Press