The Shepherd’s Hut
Fierce and lyrical, The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton is a story of survival, solitude and unlikely friendship. Most of all it is about what it takes to keep hope alive in a parched and brutal world.
For years Jaxie Clackton has dreaded going home. His beloved mum is dead, and he wishes his dad was too, until one terrible moment leaves his life stripped to nothing. No one ever told Jaxie Clackton to be careful what he wishes for.
And so Jaxie runs. There’s just one person in the world who understands him, but to reach her he’ll have to cross the vast saltlands of Western Australia. It is a place that harbours criminals and threatens to kill those who haven’t reckoned with its hot, waterless vastness. This is a journey only a dreamer – or a fugitive – would attempt.
‘A page-turning heartbreaker’ – Emma Donoghue, author of Room.
Winton's novel is layered, lyrical and intense. Its unforgettable young anti-hero tells his story in language as seared and salty as the Australian desert and the heartstopping climax had me feeling, to use one of his expressions, `like a possum chewing at a live power cord'. * Mail on Sunday * Exploring ideas of masculinity, exile and hope, The Shepherd's Hut is a wise and compassionate novel, demonstrating Winton's deep engagement with issues of moral complexity * Observer * Outstanding . . . Tim Winton strikes gold again . . . compulsively suspenseful . . . dazzlingly good . . . it's as a finely nuanced picture of a damaged yet not defeated youngster nearing adulthood, along with sizzlingly rendered vistas of Western Australia, that this tour-de-force novel exerts its masterly grip * Sunday Times * A tour de force . . . what makes this lonely romp so technically impressive is that Winton manages to maintain the tension, while Jaxie's musings are punctuated with flashes of demotic poetry . . . The book's conclusion, looping back to its opening, is beautifully poised. 'Change is slow and hope is violent' reads the epigraph to The Shepherd's Hut. It certainly turns out to be so in this novel. But there is hope none the less, not just for Jaxie but for some kind of understanding and empathy across generations, and for that Winton makes us very grateful. * Literary Review * A voice that shaves to the bone and then keeps going. Wonderful. -- Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca Describes the chaotic struggle of new masculinity better than anything else I've read. As an exploration of the intergenerational trauma that plagues men, it couldn't be more timely. Seriously, it's incredible -- Ben Quilty A masterpiece from a masterful storyteller. We have not seen many people like Jaxie in Australian literature. When reading this book I wondered if Winton had actually found someone like Jaxie and had simply recorded him telling his incredible story. This is the magic of this book. The voice is so authentic and the language of this young character rings true to the people I have met throughout my life. I will not forget this book -- Alexis Wright, author of Carpentaria Shot through with the breathtaking evocation of landscape that is Winton's forte, The Shepherd's Hut is a hymn to the wild forces of nature and unsentimental belonging. Winton's enviable ability to elicit passion for Jaxie through his immaculate, poetic and troubled rush of vernacular-no matter how terrible Jaxie's actions-is broken, beautiful and ugly in all the best ways. -- Ray Robinson, author of Electricity A richly compassionate work, deeply informed by Winton's poetic genius -- Alex Miller, author of Journey to the Stone Country Tim Winton's Jaxie Clackton brings to mind the voices of other great survivors in literature, such as Huckleberry Finn and Oliver Twist, who struggle against impossible odds with pluck, common sense, and a refreshingly keen command of the vernacular. Once you start reading this book, you won't want to put it down. A powerful, most compelling story -- Brad Watson, author of Miss Jane Winton is, as always, a superb painter of Australian space. He takes this drear landscape and invests it with what can only be described as majesty . . . Winton's achievement in these pages is of a piece with his larger fictional project. He seeks to re-enchant the world, and to provide, via the essentially sceptical machinery of literature, a sense of secular communion. A novel is not a church, and Winton is not a preacher. But he is a voice of sanity and his art is tuned to the possibility of care, even grace * Australian * Landscape and destiny are inextricable in Tim Winton's latest novel, and the result is a gritty realism that ultimately propels the story into the timelessness of a parable. All that I love about Winton's work is here: the poetry of the colloquial, fully realized characters, and the fearlessness to enter the deepest mysteries of being. The Shepherd's Hut is a brilliant reminder that Winton is one of the world's great living novelists. -- Ron Rash, author of Serena Superb. It's rare to feel fury and hope on the surface of the skin at the same time, and more rare to find that convincing in a story -- Cynan Jones, author of Cove Even a regular Tim Winton novel - if such a thing exists - would knock most other novels into a cocked hat, but The Shepherd's Hut is Winton at the top of his game, and that's saying something. A fierce, pungent, slangy, humdinger of a book, with a real kick in the tail. Fiction doesn't get much better than this -- Rupert Thomson, author of Divided Kingdom Remarkable . . . what a peculiar, disorientating and astonishing novel this is. It begins as one thing and ends as another, and yet the stitching towards these diverse tones is seamless . . . extraordinary . . . the moral structure of the novel is beautifully balanced . . . nobody else could write a novel such as this . . . Winton has written a novel which - and I can have no higher praise - I wish to re-read . . . it is clever, canny and complex. * Scotland on Sunday * Winton's novel of breaking and mending is a searing, ardent and deeply empathetic dive into the turmoil of a mutilated heart. I will never be able to unhear the voice of young Jaxie Clackton, plangent and profane, who is destined to become one of the greatest characters in Australian literature. -- Geraldine Brooks, author of Year of Wonders A novel that reminds us what fiction can do. Here is a voice that digs into your viscera and changes you from the inside. This is fiction in the raw. -- Ross Raisin, author of God's Own Country A master novelist at the very peak of their craft. Full of heart and life and beauty, it's a book with Australian dirt under its fingernails. I am jealous of anyone who gets to read him for the first time -- Evie Wyld, author of All The Birds, Singing Turbocharged by its unique and grimly funny teenage voice, The Shepherd's Hut is a page-turning heartbreaker -- Emma Donoghue, author of Room The Shepherd's Hut is wonderful. Brutal, agonizing, tender. Ultimately, it's a story of redemption and hope -- Sarah Winman, author of When God Was a Rabbit and Tin Man
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