Synopses & Reviews
“If you read only one book this year, make sure it’s this” (The Sunday Times
, London): An award-winning debut novel from a rising star in Australia—a hauntingly beautiful story about the bond of brotherhood and the fragility of youth.
Joe, Miles, and Harry, are growing up on the remote southern coast of Tasmania, a stark, untamed landscape swathed by crystal blue waters. Their lives are shaped by their father’s moods: Like the ocean he fishes, he is wild and unpredictable, warped by a devastating secret.
Every day their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. Harry, the youngest, is the most vulnerable and it seems he bears the brunt of his father’s anger. Unlike Joe, Harry and Miles are too young to leave home and are forced to live under the dark cloud of their father’s mood, trying to stay as invisible as possible whenever he is home. Miles tries his best to watch out for Harry, but he can’t be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers by the edge of the sea—shark eggs, cuttlefish bones, and the friendship of a mysterious neighbor. But sometimes small treasures, or a brother’s love, are not enough…
Vividly rendered in gorgeous, spare prose, Past the Shallows is “Wintonesque” (Herald Sun, Australia).
"Australian newcomer Parrett's remarkable debut examines the bleak life of a broken family in Tasmania, in spare, unflinching prose. Traumatized by their mother's tragic and early death, three brothers struggle as their father tries to eke out a living from the sea. The focus is on Harry, the youngest brother, a guileless boy of seven who fears the water but loves to collect the flotsam and jetsam on the beach. Miles, the middle son, is envious of his older brother Joe's independence and burdened by his difficult father's need for help fishing, as well as by the responsibility of taking care of Harry. But even during the dark times when the father and his business partner are abusive to the boys, there are bright moments: Harry finds solace in a dog belonging to a strange but kind local outcast. Miles finds release in the exhilaration of surfboarding. And despite the desolate surroundings and depressing circumstances, a better life is within reach for these boys." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Joe, Miles, and Harry are growing up on the remote southern coast of Tasmania—a stark, untamed landscape swathed by crystal blue waters. The rhythm of their days is dictated by the natural world, and by their father’s moods. Like the ocean he battles daily to make a living as a fisherman, he is wild and volatile—a hard drinker warped by a devastating secret. Unlike Joe, Harry and Miles are too young to move out, and so they attempt to stay as invisible as possible whenever their father is home. Miles tries his best to watch out for Harry, but he can’t be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers by the edge of the sea—shark eggs, cuttlefish bones, and the friendship of a mysterious neighbor. But sometimes small treasures, or a brother’s love, simply are not enough…
About the Author
Favel Parrett was named Newcomer of the Year in 2012 by the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) for her debut novel, Past the Shallows. She lives in Australia with her partner, David, and her two dogs, Dougal and Bear.