Boat, pub, boat, pub, boat, pub: in the fictitious Western Australian fishing town of Stark, residents divide their days between these two brutally masculine locales, and readers will be hard-pressed to decide which is bleaker. Is it the crayfish boat, with its ‘pong of bait’ and ‘hostile company of the breeze’, or the rural tavern, where ‘the trebly call of dog racing’ soundtracks the boozing of ‘men who looked scarcely alive’? And what’s worse, to be circled by sharks or surrounded by meth heads; to be tossed about by vicious waves or to have your face carved open by a pint glass? ‘Stark wasn’t the sort of place one stayed long’, we’re told, which begs the obvious retort: who the hell would stay there at all?
Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR. We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, click 'Sign In' in the top left-hand corner of the screen. If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.