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?
Alex Cothren reviews 'The Windy Season' by Sam Carmody
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