Beyond The Pale by John Hooker

beyond the pale (not comparable)
  1. (idiomatic) Describing behaviour that is considered to be outside the bounds of morality, good behaviour or judgement in civilised company.

Beyond The Pale is not an easy read; I'm still working my way through it but I now find it much easier going as I'm waiting for the next dreadful calamity to befall the dire and revolting characters.

Although, 'characters' is being generous, these are more caricatures, an undiluted array of every kind of stereotype from the upper English classes.
There is the wastral drunkard older brother forced from England with the snobbish sister who becomes the talk of the colony as a slapper, their younger, unmarried brother who supports them on his wealthy estate in Victoria but who is as miserable as any of them due to his one true love having joined the priesthood back in Ireland.

Then there are the supporting characters dotted about the society which revolves around the story, each slotting into their well-worn place, prattling their well-known lines with never a surprise or deviation from the long-favoured script.

The only reason I've been able to finally start enjoying this novel is due to waiting to see the next gory outcome for these unlikeable creatures - rats served to the master of the house as roast meat, salt mixed in the mortar for bell towers to fall, the rotting face of the pox-ridden slapper sister, the kitchen maids wringing dirty dishclothes into soup tureens, etc.
Not forgetting the obligatorily debauched sex scene described in fine detail between one of the many monied villains and yet another strumpet from the theatre.

The actions towards the Indigenous People are vile; I cannot fathom if the author was attempting to paint the stereotypical ignorant English people or if some satisfaction was taken from describing such hideous behaviours.
I apologise to the Late John Hooker if I judge him wrong in this instance but the old adage of "Less is more" is apt in this case; leave the reader with the impression of what happens, there is no need to bludgeon them with disgusting details.

I do not like this book as it paints everything as black and black; the Indigenous People and British both are shown to have no redeeming qualities or morals while the common labourers are pulling themselves upwards but only by sly subterfuge with nothing making them likeable, either.
It is a tale of misery and woe which lends nothing to the Australian history, culture or character.
It truly is, as the title suggests, beyond the pale.