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Crocodile

by Daniel Shand

Poverty, an alcoholic mother and possibly historical child sex abuse in the family, makes this a difficult read. A young girl, is sent to stay with her grandparents until her mother 'sorts herself out'. She makes friends with some local boys and their adventures become increasingly bold and dangerous. Very disturbing, but with a hopeful outlook. The author's use of language makes this an outstanding novel.

Extract

The girl's lids fight against her, battling in small, consistent ways to get her to burst them open and let in the sky. She's sitting so still and the creatures in her kneecaps and her elbows and hips tell her to use them, to bend and enjoy them. She doesn't listen. Just locks her joints and listens. I want you away as long as possible, her mother says, and the embers in her joints burn and the insects in her eyelids pull back and reveal finger nails of muffled sunlight, all lash-blurred and messy.
What's wrong with you? asks the girl.
What's wrong with you? her mother asks back. ...
And then the girl doesn't fight it anymore and her eyes are opened and she is dazzled by sunlight and she collapses on her back and jiggles he limbs around.
When she sits back up, there they are - the three boys.

Parallels

Fallow by Daniel Shand
 

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