What a story! What a book! What a writer!
Yes: I’m in rave mode.
Yes: I’m a Tim Winton fan.
If you’ve never tried him, I double dare you to read a book by this major Australian writer.
The Shepherd’s Hut is a coming of age story, a story of harshness, brutality, the landscape, Australia in all its gritty sunbaked elemental nature – the scrub, the roos, the emus, the flies, the sun, the salt pans, the thirst, the heat, the stars, the bush. Life and Nature – raw, beautiful and terrible. And it all unfolds in this heart-breaking page turner. Runaway teenage boy Jaxie, stumbles upon outcast exiled Fintan; with unexpected results. The story shows two shattered lives colliding and briefly intertwining, changing their life paths forever. The ending packs a wallop of a surprise, and the final pages end on a hopeful note, linking neatly with the opening.
Tim Winton is that rare writer who can switch from action and harshness to tender passages, with a smooth segue that effortlessly carries the reader onwards, without an uncomfortable changing of gears, to a different emotional plane.
This is a book you simply have to read. Fintan and Jaxie will remain with me for a long time to come.
When is the Nobel Literature Prize Committee going to start reading, considering, this marvelous writer? Has he been ignored because he’s too Australian? Too rude, crude, down and dirty Australian perhaps for their refined, delicate European sensibilities? A man who has published over twenty books for adults and children, won umpteen literary prizes, been on the Booker lists (twice); and translated into many languages. A substantial body of work, surely, if this is the deciding criteria? Yoo-hoo, Stockholm: wake up!