by Tim Winton
A rifle-shot of a novel crisp, fast, shocking, The Shepherd’s Hut is an urgent masterpiece about solitude, unlikely friendship, and the raw business of survival.
Jaxie dreads going home. His mum’s dead. The old man bashes him without mercy, and he wishes he was an orphan. But no one’s ever told Jaxie Clackton to be careful what he wishes for. In one terrible moment his life is stripped to little more than what he can carry and how he can keep himself alive. There’s just one person left in the world who understands him and what he still dares to hope for.
But to reach her he’ll have to cross the vast saltlands on a trek that only a dreamer or a fugitive would attempt.
The Shepherd’s Hut is a searing look at what it takes to keep love and hope alive in a parched and brutal world. less
Why Our Staff Love The Shepherd's Hut:
A brilliant return to fiction for Winton, this book is dark,vivid, violent, enthralling and wise.
Young Jaxie Clackton is propelled by a tragic incident to escape his violent and disaffected family, making a run to the outback salt plains of WA. Now he is up against the elements and himself. He is ill-prepared, full of passion and hormones, and struggling to think straight. Life seems to simplify to primal needs of food, shelter and water. He dreams of his girlfriend and redemption. But he is desperate, fearful, and way out of his element.
This book is compact and tightly formed, fast-reading and self-contained like a sharp thriller. Please don't rush it though, as there is depth and acuity in the details. This is like Cormac McCarthy meets That Eye The Sky; a masterful and compelling story of violence and escape, underlain with a quest for trust and salvation. Jaxie's voice is impulsive and raw, couched in authentic vernacular that never rankles, though it may get explicit. The grit of unforgiving landscape is echoed within him,as he tries to map his way. He is desolate and we are marooned with him, held tight and shaken.
As with the best of Winton's writing,there is much that arises between the lines. Thoughts on masculinity, consequences and identity are all bouncing within Jaxie's skull. Is it possible to trust? Where does he fit in this world? A book club could discuss this one for months and just scratch the surface.
I thoroughly recommend this unforgettable book and I expect it to rule the year's awards.
I finished The Shepherd’s Hut with a gasping "Wow".