Burning Sunday was published in 1999 by Sceptre. It was short-listed for The Age Book of the Year.
The back cover blurb has this to say:
When teenage Mark awakens to find his father has gone, he becomes aware that his parents’ marriage is suddenly in crisis. In the process of playing watchful peace-maker in the muted war between them, he leaves behind the innocence of his youth.
With quiet authority and deep understanding, new writer Michael McCoy gives voice to the sensitive but inhabitants of suburban Australia.
A masterful depiction of ordinary masculine frailty, Burning Sunday celebrates the courage of vulnerable families.
There’s a quote on the front cover from Paul Kelly, legendary Australian singer-songwriter. Because the tone of story reminded me of his lyrics, something I actively set out to achieve, I sent him a copy of the manuscript, asking whether he’d be kind enough to provide a quote. I was upfront in revealing my shameless intention, that being to put the quote on the cover and bask in his reflected glory.
Weeks passed with no reply and I gave up hope. But then, out of the blue, a small, apparently well-travelled envelope appeared in the letter box, my name scrawled on the front. Inside was a single page torn from a notebook with this handwritten message.
Dear Mick, I’ve been travelling for 8 weeks. Things have been hectic. Along the way I read your book and liked it. Here’s a quote: “A slow burn of a book – plain, beautiful, aching language.”
Good luck, Paul Kelly
I was ridiculously excited. In fact, I grew leaps and bounds.
Here’s some reviews:
‘From the opening pages McCoy paints a tense, gripping domestic drama … McCoy’s fiction is beautifully crafted – a very real and moving story.’ Matt Condon, Sydney Sun-Herald
‘Its consistency of tone, its preciseness and faultless structuring combine to create an unforgettably tense atmosphere. McCoy is utterly confident, writing with a conviction and ease that suggest more years at the typewriter than he could possibly have had.’ Tegan Bennet, Sydney Morning Herald