At times gritty, yet often poetic, this engaging novel is a splendid debut. Set on the south coast of Tasmania, it's the tale of three boys growing up in a harsh environment, oppressed by a widowed, frequently violent father, who reserves most of his venom for his youngest son, Harry. Perhaps the strongest character of all, though, is the sea - one minute a benevolent provider, the next a brutal adversary.
But he moved. He started running, skidding blindly down the steep rocky path. Unable to stop, too scared to stop. At the bottom he picked his way along the exposed reef until the cold water hit his feet. He threw himself off the edge of the world without even thinking. Without breathing. He just paddled with everything. And Joe was hooting and clapping, giving Miles the strength to paddle faster. He felt the lines punch hard underneath him, pick him up like he was just a leaf, a piece of seaweed. But he wasn't scared now. Not of this.