Cormac McCarthy, Per Petterson, and Maya Angelou: the three authors inspiring Favel Parrett. Reading PAST THE SHALLOWS indeed reminded me of McCarthy’s THE ROAD. No wonder. Favel says she has the last paragraph of that work hanging in her studio, reading it most days. What I’m saying is this—as the publisher describes it best: “told with an elegant simplicity” “PAST THE SHALLOWS is a hauntingly beautiful story of the bond of brotherhood and the fragility of youth.”
My summary: Harry and Miles live with their sea-faring father on the southeast coast of Tasmania. Their older brother Joe has moved on after not-so-amendable events take place in their household. Their mother killed in a car accident. Any other friends or relatives are scarce. Miles, the older one, must look out for Harry, especially as they are either left alone often or subject to the drunken and depressed temper of their father. All is not well, but the love between these brothers is proven strong and sincere.
As with THE ROAD, this book is not for the timid of heart. Yet, as with THE ROAD, this book is made to strengthen the heart. It is raw in its spare language, captivating in its emotion, and haunting in its thoughts. Hemingway advised, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” PAST THE SHALLOWS is full of true sentences.
Without further complicating things, I give this book my highest of favor and praise. It is one that will be on my mind for a while.
Thank you to Washington Square Press and Simon & Schuster for providing me with an electronic review copy of this book. It was an honor to read it.