Past The Shallows

I shouldn’t have read this book in one go.  I should have savoured it a little.  I did pause now and then to reflect on the writing, how it works with such short, punchy sentences, and how the prose flows rather than comes across staccato as a result.  Her economy of words is something that is raised in almost every review, and there is good reason.  Parrett doesn’t use a superfluous word, doesn’t use a long word where a short one will do, and doesn’t get heavy-handed with the text at any point.  As a reader, you are kept in the safe shallows.  For some of us, those of us who like to set sail for darker waters and more challenging constructs, it can be a little disquieting.

Harry and his older brother Miles are making the best out of their lives since their mother died in a car accident.  Their father, an abalone fisherman, is abusive and neglectful, and the book takes you along their path to escape.  There is also George, a scarred, old man living alone who has secrets of his own, who plays a part in their journey.

Whilst I greatly enjoyed and admired the writing style, and the young boys wormed their way easily into my heart, there wasn’t much in this novel I found new, refreshing or exciting.  Each character seemed already familiar to me, and there was a lack of twist or surprise to keep me really interested.  I powered through it in one afternoon because it was so easy to read, but mainly because I was hoping there would be something at the end that would make the book last with me.  I’ll be keeping an interested eye on what Favel Parrett produces next.

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