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Past the Shallows Paperback – 2012
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Top customer reviews
The narrative line hides itself within episodes told by both Miles and Harry, moving back and forth as they live their everyday lives and as they think about the past. Miles, who appears to be about nine or ten, "could stay out in the water, forever, even if it was freezing," and he "knew there were things that no one could teach you - things about the water. You just knew them or you didn't." He finds some relief in surfing with his much older brother, who lives elsewhere. Harry, the youngest, perhaps six or seven, hates the ocean, and fears it.
The author keeps her writing clean, developing strong contrasts between life at sea, where Miles is required to help his father on the boat, no matter the weather, and the life on land which Harry seeks. As the author continues to show life in all its aspects, Parrett introduces characters from the community, showing how others in the area live their lives, some much more successfully than the people the boys come into contact with in their daily lives. Some people offer them advice about getting out of their home situation while there is still time, while others, like George, Harry's outcast friend, teach them how to fend for themselves more successfully. The father's abuse of Harry leads ultimately to the novel's climax.
Throughout the novel, aspects of nature play a symbolic role in the lives of the characters. The multi-faceted symbol of water; the abalone with its ugly exterior and its beautifully vibrant interior shell; sharks, shark teeth, and shark eggs; the act of surfing itself, and fire and light as elements, especially the "southern lights," or Auroras, and the dawn. The novel's compression and the simplicity of its language make its beautiful images and its horrors that much more vibrant, its messages clear, while its natural dialogue make the young characters both believable and memorable. Lovers of literary fiction and book clubs members will find this novel a never-ending source of lively discussion.
I loved the dramatic setting of Southern Tasmania, Australia - such a wild and harsh place. The young characters have such touching voices. I found this book so innocent and very sad. Such an excellent first novel, and I cant wait for more from Favel Parrett.
Most recent customer reviews
I always try to support local artists, writers, products, if it is from Tasmania Australia and it is good I will support the crap out of it.Read more
So when I noted that Hachette audio had released an audiobook of her previous book - Parrett’s Past the...Read more