It’s been five years since Australian author Tim Winton has released a book. He’s back with a page-turning, epic story set in the saltlands of Australia with two intense characters just trying to survive. Each is on the run for a different reason and fate and circumstances bring them together.
Jaxie Clackton hasn’t had the best life growing up. His mom died young and his father is an abusive, alcoholic man. Jaxie wanted nothing but to get away from him. When he came home one night he found him dead by a freak accident. Thinking he would be blamed, he grabbed his stuff, food and supplies and hit the road. He wanted to go meet up with his love. Taking back roads and sticking to the land barely populated he trudges on. Low on water and food he soon finds an abandoned cabin and is able to take shelter and think about what he should do next. He is able to kill some Kangaroos for food. As he searches ahead he finds a hut and a man in the middle of nowhere in the saltmines.
He is an older man who seems to have quite a bit of supplies. He plans on taking some stuff and leaving. The man Fintan MacGillis (an Irish Priest) discovers him and offers him food and to stay with him in what is known as The Shepherd’s Hut. Why this man is here is a mystery. Jaxie asks him why but doesn’t get many answers. Nor does he offer up much about himself. He doesn’t trust Fintan but stays and keeps his eyes on him. When a discovery is made not too far from where they are it sets in motion things that will change their lives forever.
The book is written from Jaxie’s perspective and in his native Australian tongue, complete with every Australian slang, phrase you would expect to here if you lived there. I love this aspect of how it was written. It made the story more genuine like you were really there.
You can pick up The Shepherd’s Hut in stores on Tuesday, June 19.