Shepherd's Hut, TheWinton, Tim
Jaxie Clackton is on the move from his West Australian outback town. Time is up for him in Monkton and even though he is only fifteen, hanging around is sure to get him blamed for his father's accidental death. The only place he wants to be now, is with his cousin Lee, but to reach her he will have to cross the saltlands. It is here in the desert that Jaxie meets disgraced priest Fintan MacGillis offering the hand of friendship, along with some other less favourably disposed characters protecting their patch.
Gritty and powerful, this fast-paced story has a lot going on - not just Jaxie's brutal journey of self-discovery, nor survival in an unforgiving landscape, but a masterful examination of masculinity and its place in the world.
Not an easy read, but such a clear, colourful sense of voice and setting. For those of us who were willing to delve into this hard life, we found it very immersive. We found the foreshadowing interesting - it cut down the suspense - for some this was in a good way, for others it was not.
Tim Winton does not disappoint - and here is another earthy, raw Australian story that is full of dysfunction , personal journeys and always the red, hot dust of the outback seeming to seep through the pages . We rated this as a great read - but were disappointed with the ending - almost as if Winton had to draw a great story to a quick conclusion and get on with writing another book .
Once we got past the language, the characters and landscape really came alive and we rated this as one of the best books this year!
Several were put off at first by the language, but came to realise it was an essential part of the main character, and the whole atmosphere of the book. In the end we all enjoyed it - wonderful descriptions of the Australian outback, and intriguing characters.
Despite some of the subject matter, the voice of the narrator and the vivid descriptions of landscape meant we really enjoyed this book.
A harsh story in a harsh environment. Winton created very impressively strong characters in their difficult environment.
A wonderful read!
Well, here's a good book, challenging, confronting but a bloody good read! Another of those books where the Australian landscape is another character in the story. A redemption story and an unlikely partnership between young and old that works, after a fashion and after a time. It starts of pretty raw and only gets more inflamed until an uneasy peace settles, only to be shattered by the world making itself known again. You could analyse it, and there's a place for that, but read it first just to get that rawness and movement that hurls this tale along. One of the best books to come out of Oz.
Author has a great gift with the vernacular. Well worth reading.
Loved it! Once we got used to the language.
Really hard to rate this book as the opinions within our group were very divided. It was too raw for some and several didn't finish. Those who persevered loved it and found it cleverly written, witty but raw and challenging at the same time. Excellent notes.
Very divided opinions. Language was difficult for some, but once you became used to it you were hooked. His descriptions are very vivid, especially of the Aussie bush.
This book created such great discussion! Most found the style, language and general story very confronting. Most read it and found it to be a good story, even though not very nice. One did not read any after the first chapter. It was in character for the situation and surroundings and he was a survivor. The ending was horrific and created much of the discussion. One of the more challenging books we have had for sure.
Those that read the book felt that it was a good read. Others found the first couple of chapters challenging and didn't continue.
Enjoyed by some - not all!
Everyone found the first few pages difficult to get into, but once in Jaxie's mind found it a very powerful read. The language was in context, the landscape/outback was another main character along with Jaxie and Fintan. Wonderful descriptive passages of people/place/emotions/actions were real and solid. A great read which we all enjoyed.
Some of our group were put off by the language. It is a raw and gritty story, not a comfortable read, but worth it for the realistic portrayal of outback small town life. Great characterisation by Winton. One member said "you felt as if you were there". It promoted lively discussion in the group.
Once some people got used to the language, the general consensus was that it was an excellent book - good characters and well told.
Almost everyone enjoyed this book. Questions in the Book Notes provoked lots of discussion.
The group agreed the book was thought provoking and very readable.
Excellent notes. We were all compelled to continue reading this book each time we picked it up, even though the initial reaction of several members was negative at first. Although the story contained violence, it was a most enjoyable yarn that left us with much to think about, like Winton's portrayal of the characters - the use of their own language and the vivid descriptions of the Australian landscape brought the story to life.
A challenging read for some of us, regarding the violence and language! However, most felt it was well-written, and teased out lots of ways of looking at the other people's lives and explanations of behaviours. Brilliant descriptions of the Australian bush and landscape - you could smell the gums and dust and water.
This was a very challenging read, raw and confronting. Thoroughly enjoyed description of outback - and found language added to the impact. Perhaps the storyline a little unrealistic in parts.
We had a great discussion; it was a good book for us as we all enjoy Tim Winton's work. Recommended!!
An Aussie classic. Easy read. Brutal beginning but wonderful, and we are waiting for the sequel.
Strong, disempowered yet lovable characters. Wonderful descriptive landscapes. A story well told - Tim Winton at his best.
A great read. A little overwhelming at the start with the language and Aussie outback vernacular, but well worth persevering with for the brilliant characterisation and description of a 'wild west' type of outback Australia. It was grim, violent and confronting, but ultimately the depiction of the relationship between the young man and the ex-priest is touching and sad/hopeful. Really recommended and actually a quick read.