Source- Review copy/ Hachette Australia
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.
Review: Past the Shallows is the debut novel by Australian author Favel Parrett. It’s an easy quick read with a simplicity and depth that unites a strong Australian voice. Parrett has been compared to the likes of renowned Aussie novelist Tim Winton and even though I have only read his novel Breath, I can see the similarities in their writing style and how they bring characters to life among the setting of an Australian community.
Past the Shallows introduces three brothers, Joe, Miles and Harry who live with their father in a fishing town on the south coast of Tasmania. Parrett brings Harry to life with his POV written with simple language and a childlike view of the world while Miles who is much older than Harry, has a slightly introspective element to his voice.
The boys are haunted by their alcoholic father who has not recovered from his wife’s death in a car accident and the secrets that their marriage held. There’s a mystery the boys are trying to unfold but in doing so they uncover the truth about their family.
I enjoyed Past the Shallows, a story with well-developed characters and an intriguing mystery that unveils family secrets, grief, loss and love.
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