Clean Straw for Nothing

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Clean Straw for Nothing
First edition
AuthorGeorge Johnston
SeriesMeredith trilogy
PublisherCollins, Australia
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Preceded byThe Far Face of the Moon 
Followed byA Cartload of Clay 

Clean Straw for Nothing (1969) is a Miles Franklin Award-winning novel[1] by Australian author George Johnston. This novel is a sequel to My Brother Jack, and is the second in the Meredith trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels by Johnston.[2]

Story outline[edit]

In real life, Johnson abandoned a conventional career in Australia in journalism, and moved to a Greek island which was a magnet at the time for artists and writers. The novel Clean Straw for Nothing similarly tells the story of a journalist (David Meredith) who relocates to a Greek island, but fails to find the answers he seeks after even 13 years.

Critical reception[edit]

Ian Hicks, writing in The Canberra Times at time of the original publication of the novel, indicates that it is a worthy successor to My Brother Jack: "To say that it repeats the success of Jack is to be guilty of extreme understatement; it is a magnetic book that grasps the reader's attention and holds it firmly, with no apology...As of now we have two fine novels setting before us the dilemma of the Australian search for something beyond and intrinsically better than a crushing rush for materialistic gain. What can have happened, we are being asked, to the soul of a country once so much identified by its demand for social advance and by its belief in the virtue that was mateship."[3]

See also[edit]


The novel takes it title from the old London pub lines: "Drunk for a penny. Dead drunk for tuppence. Clean straw for nothing."[3]

Kay Keavney interviewed the author for The Australian Women's Weekly at the time of its publication.[4]


Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Three Cheers for the Paraclete
Miles Franklin Award recipient
Succeeded by
A Horse of Air