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You Wouldn't Be Dead for Quids : A Les Norton Novel 1 - Robert G. Barrett

You Wouldn't Be Dead for Quids

A Les Norton Novel 1

Paperback Published: November 1989
ISBN: 9780330271639
Number Of Pages: 240

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You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids is a series of adventures involving Les Norton, a big red-headed country boy from Queensland who is forced to move on the big smoke when things get a little hot for him in his hometown.

Working as a bouncer at an illegal casino up at the Cross, Les gets to meet some fascinating characters who make up the seamier side of one of the most exciting cities in the world - gamblers, conmen, bookies, bouncers, hookers and hitmen, who ply their respective trades from the golden sands of Bondi to the tainted gutters of King's Cross. . . usually on the wrong side of the law.

As raw as a greyhound's dinner, Les is nevertheless a top bloke - fond of a drink, loves a laugh and he's handy with his fists. And, just quietly, he's a bit of a ladies man too. . . Les Norton is undoubtedly an Australian cult figure.

About the Author

Robert G. Barrett was raised in Bondi where he has worked mainly as a butcher. He has appeared in a number of films and TV commercials but prefers to concentrate on a career as a writer. He is author of 11 other books including You Wouldn't be Dead for Quids and Day of the Gecko.

I read this yearly


I would stick my arm in a blender just to have pleasure of being punched in the jaw by Les Norton. Aside from the occasional homophobic/misogynistic/racist comments that were considered acceptable at the time of printing, this is a book that leaves me in tears and has been a well received gift to many a blokey mate.



Australian idioms galore, a dying language


Hilarious situational comments throughout in astonishing near lost Australian vernacular. These colourful phrases are disappearing with electronic media USAan infiltration of bland speech. We should be preserving and using our Australian dialect more.

Sydney, Australia


this is a must read.


its a great giggle, and you will recognise the situations and characters.



Loved to have a beer with Les Norton!!!!


This book just makes you laugh,hes such a good bloke and lands on his feet always,the aussie male would love to hang with this character,hes not too good looking but hes got a heart of gold,and Grungle the dog is a legend,read them all but start here first!!!

Hillston Australia


A must read


Brilliant read, lots of little stories that all mold into one awesome book - couldn't put it down - can't beleive i have only just cottoned onto R.G.Barrett.



You Wouldn't Be Dead for Quids

5.0 5


ISBN: 9780330271639
ISBN-10: 0330271636
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: November 1989
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 18.3 x 11.4  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.14
Edition Number: 1

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Robert G. Barrett

About the Author

Don't be fooled by his easy-going, unaffected manner, Robert G. (Bob) Barrett was one of Australia's top-selling contemporary writers and one of this country's most popular literary figures. His novels, which regularly sell 80,000 copies on release, are based on his well-loved character Les Norton, his hero that first appeared in You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids (1984). He is now the author of over 2 dozen novels and two works of non-fiction. Barrett has sold over 1,000,000 books in Australia to date. He was formerly a script writer, a columnist for People and Nine To Five magazines, and has written short stories and occasional feature articles for Australian newspapers.

Barrett was born in Bondi, Australia, the son of George and Marguerite Barrett. He left school at 14 to do a few odd jobs before taking on a trade as a butcher around the eastern suburbs of Sydney. He gave up his trade when a hind of beef fell on him and injured his shoulder. While he was on worker's compensation, he completed three writing courses at the WEA (Workers' Educational Association).

When his sickness benefits ran out he worked in various jobs, DJ, barman, or went on the dole. His first writing job was gag writing for disc jockeys on Radio 2SM. He also signed on with a casting agent and started acting in commercials and television series and appeared in what he says are 'two classic A-grade clunkers'; the movies Bullamakanka and The Empty Beach.

In the early 1980s with his compensation pay-out he bought a block of land on the Central Coast, 100 miles north of Sydney - land was cheap then and his family had been associated with the district since 1856. The house he now calls home has stunning ocean views. He moved there with the intention of writing short stories and in 1984 he bought out his first book You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids, adapted from a short story called Norton's Boots.

In those days it was hard to make it as a writer. Barrett didn't have huge advances or grants for writing and he had to take various positions to make ends meet and try to hang on to his house. He worked as a kitchen hand, cleaned toilets and spent time in gaol for not paying parking fines before going back on the dole.

Then he got what he calls his first break. He got a "phone call from the editor of People magazine asking if he was interested in writing a column for the magazine". The column was called So What Do You Reckon? the same title as his book, published in 1997, which contains the very best and funniest of these pieces. The columns are still as relevant today as they were then.

Barrett admits he deliberately goes out of his way to avoid political correctness and to antagonise the so called literary elite; the establishment. He doesn't write to impress critics, or writers, or the Australia Council. He writes for his readers and likes to put humour into his work. He feels that we should be able to laugh at the world and in particular at ourselves. He quotes George Saintsbury: "Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that humour excites in those who lack it."

Robert G. Barrett died at Terrigal, New South Wales on 20 September 2012.

Visit Robert G. Barrett's Booktopia Author Page

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