Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 271 pp, 9781742379715
Eleven Seasons is an impressive début novel from this year’s Vogel Prize winner, Paul D. Carter. A nimble and understatedcoming-of-age story, it takes its rhythm and structure from football, but encompasses so much more. Over the course of the eponymous eleven seasons, Carter follows Jason’s progress from a forlorn, yearning boy into an adult, while exploring issues of identity, belonging, friendship, love and the more sinister aspects of what loyalty to a teammate might involve. Written in the present tense, the narrative has a dreamlike quality. The prose is clear and powerful, with moments of brilliance and brutality. The occasional fumbles and unsatisfying moments are easily forgiven.