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Past the Shallows

Parrett, Favel Author

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Shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award, PAST THE SHALLOWS is a powerful and hauntingly beautiful novel from an extraordinary new Australian writer who is compared with Cormac McCarthy and Tim Winton. 'If you read only one book this year, make sure it's this' Sunday Times 'I loved Past the Shallows' Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds Everyone loves Harry. Except his father. Joe, Miles and Harry are growing up on the remote south coast of Tasmania. The brothers' lives are shaped by their father's moods - like the ocean he fishes, he is wild and unpredictable. He is a bitter man, with a devastating secret. Miles does his best to watch out for Harry, the youngest, but he can't be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers, in shark eggs and cuttlefish bones. In a kelpie pup, a mug of hot chocolate, and a secret friendship with a mysterious neighbour. But sometimes small treasures, or a brother's love are not enough.

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About the Author:

Favel Parrett was the recipient of an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship in 2009 and has had a number of short stories published in various journals. PAST THE SHALLOWS, her first published novel, was shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award and won the Australian Book Industry's Newcomer of the Year Award Prize. She balances her writing around surfing, travelling and volunteering at an animal shelter. She lives in Victoria, Australia with her partner and two dogs. You can find out more about Favel and her writing via her website www.favelparrett.com.au, or at www.johnmurray.co.uk. You can also visit the facebook page for Past the Shallows at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Past-the-Shallows/146189278778592, and follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/favelparrett.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Past the Shallows



Harry stood on the sand and looked down the wide, curved beach of Cloudy Bay. Everything was clean and golden and crisp, the sky almost violet with the winter light, and he wished that he wasn’t afraid. They were leaving him again, his brothers, Miles already half in his wet suit and Joe standing tall, eyes lost to the water.

Water that was always there. Always everywhere. The sound and the smell and the cold waves making Harry different. And it wasn’t just because he was the youngest. He knew the way he felt about the ocean would never leave him now. It would be there always, right inside him.

That was just how it was.

“What should I find?” he asked.

Joe shook his dry wet suit out hard. “Um . . . A cuttlefish bone, a nice bit of driftwood . . .”

“A shark egg,” Miles said.

And there was silence.

Harry waited for Miles to say he was joking, waited for him to say something, but he didn’t. He just kept waxing his board.

So Harry stood up and ran.

He followed the marks of high tide left behind on the sand and his eyes skimmed the pebbles, the shiny jelly sacks, the broken shells. Cuttlefish were easy but shark eggs were impossible. They looked just like seaweed. He kept thinking he’d found one only to realize it was just a bit of kelp or a grimy pebble. There was hardly any point in trying. But he did try. He always found everything on the list. Always.

There was a cormorant gliding low, its soft white stomach almost touching the water, and Harry watched it as it moved. He watched it slow down and land on a rock on the shore. He walked close, walked right up to the rock, but the bird didn’t move. It just stayed still. And he’d never seen one alone. Not like this, on the land. They were always in groups, cormorants. Huddled together in groups on the cliffs and rocks, long necks reaching up to the sun. Sometimes they stayed like that all day. Together. Waiting and watching. Resting.

The bird called softly, and Harry was so close that he felt the sound vibrate inside him. He wanted to reach out and touch it, to stroke the silky shimmering feathers down the cormorant’s back. But he stayed still, kept his arms by his sides. He thought that maybe the cormorant was sick. That maybe it couldn’t find the others. And he didn’t know how they made it, how they survived. Flying over all that ocean, flying and flying in the wind and in the rain. Diving into the cold water.

They washed up in the surf sometimes, the lost ones.

The bird called again. It bobbed its head up and down and spread its wings, then it was gone.

Harry left the beach and ventured into the dunes. Might find a good bit of driftwood in there or something interesting at least. He ran up and down the small humps and valleys, the loose sand getting firmer under his feet, and he kept on going. He could hardly see the beach anymore. It was farther than he had ever been. He slowed down, started walking. He looked ahead. There was some kind of clearing, small trees all around. Shrubs. It was a good sheltered place; the wind wouldn’t get in this far even if it was really blowing. You could camp here. You could stay here and it would be all right.

Behind a shrub, a pile of shells. A giant pile—old and brittle and white from the sun. Oyster and mussel, pipi and clam, the armor of a giant crab. Harry picked up an abalone shell, the edges loose and dusty in his hands. And every cell in his body stopped. Felt it. This place. Felt the people who had been here before, breathing and standing alive where he stood. People who were long dead now. Long gone. And Harry understood, right down in his guts, that time ran on forever and that one day he would die.

The skin on his hands tingled and pricked.

He dropped the shell and ran.



He had to wait for ages but finally Joe came in. Miles stayed out. He was way out deep and it didn’t even look like there were any waves out there. He was just sitting in the water. Just sitting there and Harry was starving, couldn’t stop thinking about those sandwiches. The cheese and chutney ones.

“I didn’t find it. The shark egg.”

Joe was struggling with his wet suit, getting his arms free, and he was twisting and panting, not looking at Harry. “Maybe next time,” he said, but Harry didn’t think it was likely.

When Joe was finally back in his clothes he started unpacking the stuff from the dinghy, the thermos and the tin cups and the rug and the sandwiches. As long as they didn’t have to wait for Miles—no, Harry wouldn’t be able to wait for Miles even if Joe said he had to because Miles could stay out in the water forever, even if it was freezing, and Harry just had to have one of the sandwiches now.

“This place is old,” he said, his mouth full of bread.

Joe made a sound but he wasn’t really listening. He was somewhere else, maybe still out there in the water with Miles. But it didn’t matter.

This place was old. Harry knew it.

As old as the world.

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Book Description John Murray General Publishing Division, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 197 x 129 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award, PAST THE SHALLOWS is a powerful and hauntingly beautiful novel from an extraordinary new Australian writer who is compared with Cormac McCarthy and Tim Winton. If you read only one book this year, make sure it s this Sunday Times I loved Past the Shallows Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds Everyone loves Harry. Except his father. Joe, Miles and Harry are growing up on the remote south coast of Tasmania. The brothers lives are shaped by their father s moods - like the ocean he fishes, he is wild and unpredictable. He is a bitter man, with a devastating secret. Miles does his best to watch out for Harry, the youngest, but he can t be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers, in shark eggs and cuttlefish bones. In a kelpie pup, a mug of hot chocolate, and a secret friendship with a mysterious neighbour. But sometimes small treasures, or a brother s love are not enough. Bookseller Inventory # AA69781848547506

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Book Description John Murray General Publishing Division, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 197 x 129 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. Shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award, PAST THE SHALLOWS is a powerful and hauntingly beautiful novel from an extraordinary new Australian writer who is compared with Cormac McCarthy and Tim Winton. If you read only one book this year, make sure it s this Sunday Times I loved Past the Shallows Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds Everyone loves Harry. Except his father. Joe, Miles and Harry are growing up on the remote south coast of Tasmania. The brothers lives are shaped by their father s moods - like the ocean he fishes, he is wild and unpredictable. He is a bitter man, with a devastating secret. Miles does his best to watch out for Harry, the youngest, but he can t be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers, in shark eggs and cuttlefish bones. In a kelpie pup, a mug of hot chocolate, and a secret friendship with a mysterious neighbour. But sometimes small treasures, or a brother s love are not enough. Bookseller Inventory # AA69781848547506

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