Past the Shallows

Past the Shallows is a brilliant and already highly applauded first novel by Favel Parrett. Immediately I was struck by the poetry of the beautifully sparse prose and the luxurious way the haunting story unwinds.

Joe, Miles and Harry are brothers in a broken family.  Their mother is absent, although why this is so is not immediately apparent.  Joe lives apart from the family, leaving Miles to care for young Harry, and the home that is so neglected by their alcoholic father, an abalone fisherman.  Miles has been taken out of school to work in the boat, while Harry spends his days alone in the house, with little to eat and less to do.

As the narrative unfolds we learn more about the lives of Miles and Harry, and the father they live in fear of.  His rage runs deep and at the end of the novel, it is something neither of them can escape.

Set in coastal Tasmania with terrific descriptions of the water and the boys’ relationship to it, even as a first-time author Parrett knows the secrets of showing and not telling that evades so many authors these days.  Although classes as YA Fiction (and nominated by the CBCA for their Young Adult Fiction novel of the year), there is plenty here to engage older readers as well.

Here is a link to some short story writing of hers if you are interested.


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