5 big aussie stars

There is a haunting quality to this book. It is beautiful in its lingering sadness. The setting, a remote region of Tasmania, was atmospheric. Favel’s writing is so engaging that you really feel the sense of tough living and the hostile climate that the boys lived in. The story focuses on a splintered family dealing with the death of their mother, and the harsh realities of the world they live in. Their struggling fisherman father, and his issues with alcohol, are a constant source of anxiety for the boys, along with the extreme bleakness of trying to make a living from fishing for abalone with limited resources and an alcoholic madman at the helm. I really felt for Miles and had this sense that he was stuck and if something didn’t shift he would forever remain stuck. Harry was by far my favourite character. I enjoyed his individual progression the most and was a little on the devastated side when I discovered his fate. Thanks for the tears Ms Parrett. Poetic and sorrowful, and thoroughly captivating. I read it in one sitting. A brilliant debut novel.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Harry and Miles live with their father, an abalone fisherman, on the south-east coast of Tasmania. With their mum dead, they are left to look after themselves. When Miles isn’t helping out on the boat they explore the coast and Miles and his older brother, Joe, love to surf. Harry is afraid of the water.

Everyday their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. He is a hard man, a bitter drinker who harbours a devastating secret that is destroying him. Unlike Joe, Harry and Miles are too young to leave home and so are forced to live under the dark cloud of their father’s mood, trying to stay as invisible as possible whenever he is home. Harry, the youngest, is the most vulnerable and it seems he bears the brunt of his father’s anger.