Spirit of Progress
A sleek high-speed train glides silently through the French countryside, bearing Michael, an Australian writer, and his travelling world of memory and speculation. Melbourne, 1946, calls to him: the pressure cooker of the city during World War II has produced a small creative miracle, and at this pivotal moment the lives of his newly married parents, a group of restless artists, a proud old woman with a tent for a home, a journalist, a gallery owner, a farmer and a factory developer irrevocably intersect. And all the while the Spirit of Progress, the locomotive of the new age, roars through their lives like time's arrow, pointing to the future and the post-war world only some of them will enter.
Steven Carroll's novels The Art of the Engine Driver and The Gift of Speed were both shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. In 2008, The Time We Have Taken won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, South-East Asia and South Pacific region as well as the 2008 Miles Franklin Award, Australia's most prestigious literary prize.