Read Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett Online


Harry and Miles live with their father, an abalone fisherman, on the south-east coast of Tasmania. With their mum dead, they are left to look after themselves. When Miles isn't helping out on the boat they explore the coast and Miles and his older brother, Joe, love to surf. Harry is afraid of the water.Everyday their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. HHarry and Miles live with their father, an abalone fisherman, on the south-east coast of Tasmania. With their mum dead, they are left to look after themselves. When Miles isn't helping out on the boat they explore the coast and Miles and his older brother, Joe, love to surf. Harry is afraid of the water.Everyday their dad battles the unpredictable ocean to make a living. He is a hard man, a bitter drinker who harbours a devastating secret that is destroying him. Unlike Joe, Harry and Miles are too young to leave home and so are forced to live under the dark cloud of their father's mood, trying to stay as invisible as possible whenever he is home. Harry, the youngest, is the most vulnerable and it seems he bears the brunt of his father's anger....

Title : Past the Shallows
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780733630491
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Past the Shallows Reviews

  • Phrynne
    2019-03-23 20:34

    Such a sad, sad story. The ending made me reach for the tissues. The author writes beautifully with a very evocative style. I have never been surfing but her descriptions of Miles when he is waiting for the next wave are so real I felt as though I had been there too. Harry is a wonderful little character and I was so glad when he had some happy moments. His relationship with George was lovely although I still do not really understand who George was. I think maybe he was there just as a red herring. Nevertheless this is a very readable story, short and sad but memorable.

  • Canadian Reader
    2019-02-23 13:41

    Parrett's debut novel concerns the three sons of a violent, embittered Tasmanian fisherman with a dark secret. It is a spare, lyrical, almost mythic piece. The boys lost their mother some years back in a car crash which two of the boys, Miles--now 13, and Harry--8, survived. These two now live with their father in a run-down house on the rocky, harsh, and remote southern coast of Tasmania. The eldest son, Joe--19, escaped to live with his maternal grandfather some years previous, after his arm was badly broken by his father in one of his characteristic rages. As the novel opens, the boys' grandfather has recently died, their aunt is set to sell the house and land, and Joe, who has worked on building his own boat, intends to escape the place for good. Miles has been pulled from school to man THE IDA, his father's fishing boat, as his father and other men dive, often illegally in protected waters, for abalone. Harry is regularly left alone on shore and spends his days wandering. On one of his walks, he encounters a dog that belongs to George, a kindly hermit, disfigured by a cleft palate and burns from a fire that killed his family in his youth. George befriends Harry, and the two youngest boys seek refuge with the old man when their drunken father attacks them one evening. However, their father's mad fury must play itself out, and Miles and Harry must bear witness to it out on the wild sea.PAST THE SHALLOWS is a bleakly beautiful, elemental work that demands slow, mindful, and patient reading. It is a story of secrets and survival. For those willing to put in the effort, it is well worth it.

  • Carolyn
    2019-03-21 20:27

    Favel Parrett's debut novel is a sweetly sad tale of three brothers and their violent, explosive father, an abalone diver in Tasmania. After losing their mother some years before, the boys live a marginal existence with no regular food in the house and never knowing when their father will lash out. But they have each other to provide strong bonds of caring and affection. Joe the eldest moved out to live with his grandfather after a violent episode with his father and is now planning to leave. Miles, the middle son has to go out and work on his Dad's boat during the summer school holidays and knows this is his future, one he doesn't want. He keeps an eye out for Harry, the youngest, still wide eyed and trusting and tries to protect him from his father's drunken bouts. Written in beautifully evocative prose, Parrett recreates the sights and sounds of the Tasmanian bush and rugged coastline. The sea is sometimes predictable, as when Joe and Miles are surfing but can rapidly become wild and unforgiving to those who venture out into a storm. A powerful story of brotherly bonds and the innocence of youth in the face of an abusive parent."Out past the shallows, past the sandy-bottomed bays, comes the dark water - black and cold and roaring. Rolling out an invisible path, a new line for them to follow. To somewhere warm. To somewhere new."

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-03-01 19:54

    I was attracted to this book because of the setting, Tasmania, where my future daughter is at this time. The writing is very spare, but this is done to great effect. Three boys, trying to get over a horrible tragedy, two who are the mercy of a drunken, abusive father. The third, older had been building a boat for years and is now ready to get away.Abalone fishing is a way of life there and the scenes on the water are harrowing. There is a wonderful old neighbor named George, who offers the boys shelter and companionship without asking many questions. He is a great character. Not an easy book to read, heartbreaking but a story about secrets, brotherhood and hopefully a second chance for some.

  • Jenna
    2019-03-14 17:37

    3.5 starsMuch thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and author for the advanced copy to reviewAs some adults later do, sometimes I wish that my parents would have done something different or I feel deprived in some way. That is, until I read books on children with abusive and bitter parents that could care less if they existed or not. Once I read them, I think, ‘you should be kissing your parents feet’ or ‘why am I such an ungrateful little runt?’This is the case with Past the Shallows. This story is told by two brothers, Harry and Miles. Harry is the baby of the family and is still innocent and uneffected. Miles is older and a bit weary and is in the process of becoming resentful of the man that they call their father. Unfortunately for these two brothers, their mother is dead and the man who cares for them basically doesn’t want them. There is a third brother, but he doesn’t make enough of an appearance to know much about, just that he left once the abuse toward him had hit its peak.This book was well-written and dark, dark, dark. I think that the only happy moments in the book are when Harry finds twenty bucks and when he befriends a dog. I think this is an important forewarning before diving into this one. There is true symbolism to be found if you are looking for it. All in all, it’s a great read if you are prepared for it.

  • Jeannie
    2019-03-14 20:26

    I picked this up at the library yesterday and could not put it down.It is an emotional story and sad. At one point I noticed I was holding my breath while I was reading. I felt myself getting attached to the characters and wanted to be there for them. I ended up crying at the end. This book will stay with me for awhile. Beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.

  • Ben Langdon
    2019-03-11 15:52

    My favourite book of 2011, and after re-reading it this year it still holds up as one of my all-time favourite reads.From the first page, Favel Parrett sets up a tragedy that cannot be out-run or ignored. There is a keen sense of something terrible just around the corner for the three brothers of this book.Parrett captures the 1980s feel of Australia, from the show bags to the sense of everyday. There is also a very real sense of 'cold' which comes from the book being set in the inhospitable southern coast of Tasmania, but more intensely because the boys are living in such impoverished conditions. They don't have access to regular food, they don't have heat, they don't have proper clothes. Their lives are miserable.But there lies the beauty.Although their lives are horrible from our perspective, Miles and Harry never really acknowledge it. Harry, the youngest brother, finds beauty and magic in the everyday. He is happy to wander the countryside while his deadbeat dad is out fishing and his brothers are surfing.It's that innocent, wandering Harry that draws the reader in - and that's Parrett's plan, I'd wager. But for me I associated more with Miles, the middle child. His older brother has escaped his brutal father, but Miles is now the eldest in the house and (after an incredible scene with a flying shark!) Miles is forced to abandon school and take up a fishing life. Miles knows it's his death warrant, that if he becomes a fisherman like his father, then the rest of his life is going to be absolute crap.I recommend this book to everyone.i won't say anymore about it, except that I read this straight through (both times) and when I found myself finishing the last few pages it was close to 3am. I couldn't stop, even though every page was breaking my heart. I ended up taking a long hot shower and really crying my guts out at 3am! (Disclaimer: I'm not a complete baby, but the story really got to me. I've got three kids and because of Parrett's magic I couldn't help but put my kids in the positions of the boys in this book.)It's a book about tragedy, but you get that sense from the very beginning. Like I said earlier, this is my favourite book from last year and seriously one of the best books I've EVER read.

  • Brenda
    2019-02-26 18:30

    This debut novel by Favel Parrett has a lot of high recommendations attached to it, and it’s one I’ve wanted to read for awhile. I am so glad I did, it was a wonderful story, very sad, very confronting, but definitely worth reading.Harry, Miles and Joe are 3 children who lost their mother to a dreadful car accident a few years earlier, and the two younger boys have since lived with their moody and unpredictable father on the remote south coast of Tasmania. Joe moved out at 13 after a bitter and violent argument with his father, and went to live with his Grandad. Miles did his best to look after Harry, and shield him from their father’s warped bitterness, but he couldn’t be there all the time.When one of the hands on the boat used for abalone fishing is badly injured, Miles has to take his place, and Harry stays home alone a lot of the time. He wanders through the day, hunting for treasures, and when he finds Jake, an adorable little kelpie pup, he has a playmate at last. Jake is owned by George, and Harry befriends the two of them, and knows some of the happiest days of his life while in their company. One day, though, things go terribly wrong, there is a dreadful accident and nothing is the same again. ‘Past the Shallows’ is a hauntingly beautiful story about the bond of brotherhood and the fragility of youth. I would recommend this new Australian author to everyone!

  • ☮Karen
    2019-03-14 18:56

    Maybe 3.5 stars. The book's style was one I didn't care much for. Great story -- very sad and unique in setting -- but the slow way it was revealed to the reader just never grabbed me. With all the 5 star ratings, I am wondering what I missed.

  • Michael
    2019-03-02 15:56

    This is the debut novel by Victorian author Favel Parrett and I found it to be a haunting and emotive read. It is the sought of story that once you get started it is nigh on impossible to stop, with a clear and simple writing style with the story narrated by two young brothers. I found myself instantly relating to the boys and rode a wave of emotions.Eight-year-old Harry lives with his older brother Miles and their abusive Abalone fisherman father in Southern Tasmania. With his eldest brother Joe having moved out, Harry relies on his brother for companionship, but for the most part, lives a lonely existence. Miles reluctantly goes often with his father fishing and has to bear the brunt of his emotions. Miles has his own crosses to bear, on the one hand wanting to protect his brother, all the while wanting to do the things ordinary teenagers do and try to come to terms with his mother's death. Harry being so young does not remember his mother's passing, but for Miles, he cant escape it and is deeply affected.Reading Past the Shallows it was not hard to be sympathetic for Harry and Miles. Both had to endure the wrath of their cruel father. I just wanted to get them away from the terrible situation they found themselves in at such young ages. They would have to deal with all that life can throw at them with revelations and inevitable devastation. Overall this is a moving read about family and love and how tragedies can unhinge them.

  • Meagan
    2019-03-24 18:31

    I really wish I could give this book ten stars! Favel Parrett's debut novel is an exquisitely tender work...written with immense sensitivity and a beautiful turn of phrase. The story is about three brothers Joe, Miles and Harry, who live in Tasmania with their often drunk and very bitter father, who is a fisherman. Set in 1983, the story is alternately narrated by fifteen year old Miles, and his much younger little brother,Harry. Miles' voice has a cynicism and weariness, young Harry's voice is quite innocent and full of wonder about the world around him.This is a beautifully written story. Fans of Tim Winton and contemporary Australian fiction are sure to enjoy this spectacular novel.Favel Parrett is an author with a uniquely Australian voice...I will definitely seek out anything else she writes in the future.

  • Greg Barron
    2019-03-12 12:44

    From the first page I knew that Past the Shallows was something special. This is a writer that knows that clear and elegant writing does not require pyrotechnics. The story is moving and beautifully told. Past the Shallows deserves its place on the Miles Franklin short list and deserves to go all the way.

  • Mish
    2019-03-18 12:50

    This is a heartbreaking story of two young brothers, Miles and Harry who live alone with their widowed father in a run down cottage on the coast of Tasmania.Their father is an abalone fisherman who drinks excessively, has a violent temper, and often physically abuses his sons. There is hardly any food but boys do the best they can with what they have with some help from people nearby. Harry, the youngest of three brothers is left alone during the day while the middle brother Miles and his dad are out on the fishing boat. Harry gets restless and bored and passes the time by wandering around alone to his friend Stuart’s place or exploring along the coast. Still grieving over the death of his mother, Miles endures the full force of his father physical and mental abuse day and night. He is constantly protecting himself and Harry from his father’s drunken beatings, or his erratic behaviour on the boat. You can tell by the sweet voice of young Miles that it’s taking its toll on him and the only joy he has from life is when his older brother Joe takes him out surfing. The abuse in the story was so difficult to read. It’s really hard for me comprehend how someone could inflict so much pain to another human, let alone their own child. It’s horrific and it really saddens me, but unfortunately these things do happen. The ending was gut wrenching and shocking. So much so that I couldn’t help but shed a tear. I think Favel did a superb job with the writing. Her sentences were short and simple and effective. You could visualise the beautiful coastline, and some of the haunting and dangerous seas. For a little book it was so damn powerful – it was brilliant.

  • Michael
    2019-02-27 16:52

    Favel Parrett’s debut novel is at times gut wrenching and shocking but I never went away from this book feeling like I had just read something interesting. It all felt way too familiar and that left me wanting to read something new and maybe unpredictable. I adored the writing style in Past the Shallows, it was almost poetic and it just pushed me through this book with such ease; even in the parts of the book I wasn’t enjoying. Full review here; live tweeting of ths book can be seen here;

  • Sue
    2019-03-03 12:45

    The term "Wintonesque" was woven more than once through the reviews at the front of this first published novel by Aussie female writer Favel Parrett. It's not just the parallels in writing style and content - the surf, the beautiful, redemptive surf - but it's also in the narrator's eye. There's a kindly benevolence in both writers, a certain compassion. There's a childlikeness about compassion. But in an age of stiff egos and parasitic capitalism anything childlike can easily be mistaken for weakness and taken advantage of. But compassion is like the sway in the bridge - its weakness is its strength.Contrast that with the small turning circle that is the emotional life of the boys' father. He is one of those people who is there even when he's not, permeating the air with the threat of the violence that's borne out of desperation, betrayal and lack of vision. Joe, the oldest son, is almost gone from this isolated part of southern Tasmania, in the boat it's taken him years to build. Joe is going before he gets stuck here forever. Miles, the middle son, is only 13 but he can feel himself getting stuck here already. Being forced to go out on the boat to keep an eye out while his Dad fishes for illegal abalone, Miles is alternately solidifying into the earth like concrete, and drowning in the sea. Except for when he's surfing. That's the only time he feels free."He sat back behind the break, looked back towards the beach. Joe was only just coming down the track, but he was strong. He paddled quick and he'd be out in no time. Miles turned his head to the horizon and grinned. A good-sized line, maybe a four-footer, hit the reef and began to peel. Sometimes you didn't have to move an inch. The shoulder of the wave lifted his board; he looked down the clean face and took the drop. Miles felt his bones. He carved along the wave nice and loose, flicked up with sharp cutbacks every so often to bring him back up onto the shoulder. He heard Joe hooting from the beach and he knew he was charging."The sea flows right through this book - its dangers and its depths, about those who are sucked under and who suck others under in turn, and about the beauty you feel when you know how to ride the waves, . The heart of this story though is Harry. Seven year old Harry. But you'll find that out for yourself.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-25 16:42

    I loved it even more the second time!I must admit, I am a huge fan of Australia. I love the literature, the films and the television series. It's so relatable to me - the sounds, the smells. Somehow these books just capture beauty, purity and innocence to me.Past the Shallows hurt my heart and soul, but in such a painfully beautiful way. I absolutely loved it.

  • Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
    2019-02-25 16:37

    I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I've just read Past The Shallows by award winning Australian author Favel Parrett. Set in a small town on the coast of Tasmania, Harry and Miles live with their father; an abalone fisherman bitter and angry after the loss of his wife. Harry and Miles are largely left to fend for themselves and try their best to stay out of their father's way.Miles and their older brother Joe enjoy surfing and feel at one with the sea, while Harry - the youngest - is afraid of the water. Parrett loves to surf and her personal knowledge and love of surfing is evident within the pages.Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2012, Past The Shallows is a coming-of-age story about brotherhood. It's a slim novel and very easy to read with short chapters and large font. On the flip side it's a haunting and often sad story.Harry was easily my favourite character although I did want to know more about George Fuller.I borrowed my copy from the library and was excited to discover it was signed by the author. Highly recommended and a worthy contribution to my Australian Women Writers Challenge and Aussie Author Challenge.

  • Jenny
    2019-03-09 14:35

    Past the Shallows is the first book by Favel Parrett, I have read. I did enjoy reading Past the Shallows. However, it is a sad story about three young boys Harry, Miles and Joe who was mistreated by their single father after their mother died in a car accident. At times during reading Past the Shallows, I needed to find tissues particularly in the conclusion of the story. The readers of Past the Shallows will learn about neglect and cruelty and the unique bond that these three young boys have. I loved the Favel Parrett portrayal of the characters in Past the Shallows. Favel Parrett has a unique style of writing that is easy to read, and allows the readers to immerse themselves in the story. I recommend this book, however, have a box of tissues nearby.

  • Choco
    2019-03-21 16:29

    Favel Parrett is an Australian author. With this piece of information you may develop a certain expectation for this book particularly if you have read any books written by Markus Zusak or Craig Silvey. I just have this need to let everyone know that Favel Parrett writes very differently from these authors at least on one point. That is, her prose is very very simple, to an extent that the authors mentioned above appear chatty in comparison (when they are near-perfect if you ask me). I don't want you to mistake this as a sign that her book was unfeeling because the opposite was true. Two of the main characters Harry and Miles now live in my heart, and not only that, all five senses of mine responded to Parrett's writing and I'm still with the lingering leftover from the experience. If a reader is not careful, it's not difficult to dismiss this book as a bit choppy and somewhat lacking. If I see such a reader, I WILL grab onto him/her and forcefully engage in a discussion on finer details - symbols and metaphors in the book as well as purposes of certain sentences until this reader sees the light. Actually I need to reread it in order to write a decent review because I'm sure to have missed something, in a hurry to find out what happened next. (As usual, I wish my rambling to be not really a review but an incentive or a preparation to read the book.)With everything aside, you could read this book for the last two chapters. (view spoiler)[Oh Miles.. *sobs* (hide spoiler)] They sealed the deal for me, and I'm giving this five stars.

  • Kelv
    2019-02-28 18:39

    This book had a Tim Winton feel all over it i.e surf theme, hard up Australians, and lots of realistic emotions. The book had a good flow and was generally interesting - there were times where I had to re-read due some sluggishness. Characters were all over the place; I was not sure of who the brothers were and what their ages were until the end. Also, there were some throw away characters which felt out of place, for example, George seemed to be apart of the Mothers death, but he had nothing to do with it. Reasons why I think this; he was disfigured, shunned by the people, spoke to Harry how he knew the Mother and also, the father cut sick when Harry was caught coming out of the place. Jeff was odd also, happy to talk down to Harry and Miles, and turn a blind eye to the fathers abusiveness, but was happy when the father died i.e. "I'm glad".The flash backs were good and relevant.

  • Carol -Reading Writing and Riesling
    2019-03-21 20:53

    My View:The combination of Favell Parrett’s words and David Wenham’s narration equals a beautiful experience for the soul and the ears! I have listened to a few audio books but this one beats them all – the narrative is poignantly read, is often heartbreaking, honest and brutal and real. The ending – is not pretty – but pays homage to the bonds of siblings forged strong and unbreakable by the explosive temperament of a bitter and twisted father. A mystery is slowly revealed. As a past tragedy unravels another is created. A brilliant audio book!I have now added Favell Parrett to my must read authors list. David Wenham is a narrator of some note!

  • Denise
    2019-03-22 13:45

    Sometimes cold and bleak, sometimes lyrical and uplifting, this tale of three young brothers is an impressive debut novel. Favel Parrett's imagery of the Tasmanian coastline is exquisite.

  • Dhitri
    2019-03-02 17:42

    This book is a gem. It is raw, confronting, yet at the same time riveting and incredibly moving. At the heart of the story you have three brothers, who love in the rugged southern coast of Tasmania. They are subjected to the moods of their father, an abalone fisherman, who is a bitter and abusive man, especially to Harry, the youngest of the three. Joe, the eldest, emancipated himself after a violent encounter with their father, whereas Miles is trapped between his filial duties to help with the fishing and his brotherly responsibilities to Harry. I can't say much as it would spoil the story. The first few pages I was struck with how clinical the writing was. Her description of the fisherman's life and the coast was matter-of-fact, removed of sentimentality, but then it dawned me: Poverty is poverty, no matter how you dress it up. The fishermen face natural challenges and economic hardship in a way that is unimaginable to so yhe best way was to deliver the facts and let the readers form their own ideas of that reality. The book does not shy from presenting the harsh reality: the fact that kids are effectively cheap labour, how the fishermen are cheated by their own trade and how undevalued the risks they face day to day on the ocean. The story really focused on the growing relationship betweem Miles and Harry and much effort has been dedicated to make readers empathise with these two boys. It does so carefully and slowly. The sparse prose blooms as we learn more about each character. There were tender moments that hooked me to the characters--moments of innocence, moments of simple happiness. Miles out on his surfboard, Joe in the workshop building his boat and Harry taking a glimpse of the Northern Lights to name a few. On the other hand, the book gives little thought to everyone else; the father is almost caricaturised as simply this violent, bitter man who hates one son and prefers the other. I understand that may have been a deliberate choice made by the author, but to me it was a missed opportunity to introduce more complexity and depth to the story. The book is just like the natural environmemt that the story is set in. Like treacherous waves, just when you think the story has settled, a big swell rises and crashes hard on you, shaking your emotions. There were twists in the plot that I didn't see coming. The final one really shook me and the ending just left me in tears. In the end, I was grateful for the fact that the writing was clean and crisp as it was and not flowery and overwritten. It made the book feel so raw and real -- truthful is how one critic described it. Highly recommended.

  • Jillwilson
    2019-02-23 19:43

    I started this novel because I’ve just been to Tasmania where it’s set but was immediately filled with a sense of bleakness and found it hard to come to the novel willingly. You know, from the very first pages, that what the characters face is grim and that there may be no redemption or hope. And I won’t spoil the plot to say more about this. What I want to stress about the novel is how good it is.It’s a debut novel, it’s slight in length and sparingly told. It reminded me of the outset of Cormac McCarthy, because it is about men and boys, but more importantly because it takes no prisoners. Ultimately I couldn’t put it down though I wanted to look away at times. The story revolves around three brothers and their dysfunctional father, a fisherman in the southernmost part of Tassie. In my recent travels there we went on a boat eco tour along the coast – from Adventure Bay down to the seals at the base of the south island. If you go south from there, there’s very little between you and the Antarctic. The water is deep and wild, with big kelp forests, mile long swells, seals and as many albatross as I have ever seen. Bruny Island, along with the Tasmanian mainland, is the setting for this novel and very beautifully described too. We were lucky enough to see it when it was calm, and when it was angry. The environment is significant to the novel but so are hidden secrets of this small community that emerge during the narrative. I was scared reading it – the father is violent and it reminded me of things that have happened in my own extended family. Of how scary men can be when they drink and are out of control. The writer manages to build our connection with the two young boys who live with their father, even though the prose is sparse. (A minor quibble; I thought the surfing scenes were a little gushy and over lyrical, but I am not a surfer and the writer is. I preferred the way that Malcolm Know wrote about surfing in his recent novel ‘The Life’.) I hope to read more from her.

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    2019-03-04 12:31

    ‘Cuttlefish were easy but shark eggs were impossible’.From the novel’s opening: ‘Out past the shallows, past the sandy-bottomed bays, comes the dark water – black and cold and roaring.’ this was a novel that held my attention to the end. Set in coastal southern Tasmania, it is a story about extremes – both in nature and within people.There are three brothers: Joe, Miles and Harry. Miles and Harry live with their father while Joe lives with their grandfather. Their mother is dead and, as a consequence, there is no tenderness in the boys’ lives. Joe is safe, but Miles and Harry are affected by their father’s moods which, fuelled by alcohol and desperation, sometimes result in violent outbursts. ‘Dad’ (as he is referred to in the novel – we learn his name indirectly) is an abalone diver. Harry suffers from sea-sickness and is too young to help. Once the school holidays start, Harry is largely left to his own devices while Miles is forced to help his father on and his mate Jeff on the boat after a crew member is injured. ‘There were things that no one could teach you – things about the water.’Dad is desperate, and reckless. Facing financial ruin he ignores the law and takes abalone where he can find them. He also goes out at times when others, more prudent and less desperate, stay in. And while he is hunting for a big catch, Harry is making friends with the reclusive George and George’s pup Jake. On one of the fishing trips, a pregnant mako shark is killed by Dad and Jeff, together with one of its live pups. Miles is unable to intervene but deeply affected by this casual killing. Other elements of this story have a similar sense of detached helplessness.This is an intensely moving novel: the moods of Dad and of the sea are constant reminders of how close tragedy is and also that there are, ultimately, no secrets. And no escape. This is Ms Parrett’s debut novel, and while it is difficult to read at times because of a sense of impending doom, there are beautifully written passages about the natural world, especially the many and varied moods of the sea. This is a novel I intend to reread.‘Don’t look back.’Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  • Monica
    2019-03-15 13:55

    Oh, how I loved this book. I saved it for a three hour plane trip...hoping that once we lifted up into the skies, that I would be lost in the pages. And that's precisely what happened. I inhaled the pages, I couldn't turn them fast enough. Favel Parret's writing style is much like Tim Winton and Cormac McCarthy. Few words speak volumes. Wonderful words that create a novel of poetic paragraphs. Three boys growing up in the shadow of their drinking, depressed father. Winter along the southern coast of Tasmania. Icy cold water, gray skies...Parrett paints a landscape that I felt. "Everything went quiet then. Dad went quiet and the whole place went quiet like there was nothing. No wind, no rustling trees, no sound from the river. Just Dad holding Harry up off the ground. And his face was dead and his eyes were dead and Miles felt sick."As I said, I loved this book. I`ll be keeping my eye on this author.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-11 20:56

    It’s funny how some authors often go unnoticed in the sea of fiction these days, especially when you have a focus on a particular area, like Aussie YA. In mid-August, before my dad handed me Past the Shallows, I’d never heard of Favel Parrett, and then suddenly her name was everywhere I looked because her second novel was due to be released. I’m so glad he found a copy of her debut novel because it’s an amazing example of Aussie YA fiction.Past the Shallows is the story of the Curran boys: Joe (nineteen), Miles (approximately thirteen), and Harry (about eight). They live on the south coast of Tasmania with their father, an abalone fisherman. Their mother died not long ago, in a car accident. Their father is a violent, moody alcoholic, and Miles tries to protect Harry as much as possible, especially since Joe moved out. Miles also has to help on the boat, a job he is not fond of due to his father and his co-worker.The story is told from Harry and Miles’ perspectives, and through them we learn of the mystery of why their father hates Harry so much, and the details of their mother’s death. Both boys sounded older than I first thought, and when I realised just how young they were, I became even sadder. I adored both of them, Harry is so young and innocent, he is pleased by the smallest of things, and is always trying to do nice things for Miles. Miles has so much responsibility for someone so young, I admired the way he cared for Harry.The writing is beautiful, descriptive, and compelling – I hadn’t planned on reading this when it was given to me, but I glanced at the first page and once I started reading I could not stop. Each scene is so vivid, I could feel the cool, coastal air, and smell the salty sea. The more violent scenes, like the one involving a shark, were horrifying and left me feeling sick.Because the boys are so young, the truth about their family becomes apparent to the reader before it does to them, but the ending is no less shocking because of it. I finished this book while sitting in my kitchen, with sunlight streaming in, but I still felt chilled to my core, with tears streaming down my face. Past the Shallows is a beautifully told story with a powerful impact, perfect for teens and adults. ** International readers: both of Favel's book have also been published in the USA and the UK!

  • Jodie
    2019-03-07 12:47

    Touching and haunting is this story set in the wilds of Tasmania. The chilling water that pushes up from the Antarctic into enormous swells slamming against the coast and at times the swell is so big it changes the shape of the coast with a single event. Much like the lives of Harry, Miles and Joe, three brothers from a broken home in the true definition of the word. Completely shattered by the loss of their mother in a car crash. We are never actually told the age of Harry but I guess that he is around 6 or 7, Miles is 12 and Joe is 19 - finally at an age where he can flee to warmer waters in a boat that he has been constructing for years so that he can do just that.This story is wonderfully written with very simple prose, not a word is used frivolously or placed in a sentence where it shouldn't be. Harry is just so likeable, wise beyond his years due to his awful father. Fortunately he suffers from terrible sea sickness so he is saved from a life on his fathers abalone boat. But Miles is not so lucky, and it is Miles that I feel the most for, the middle boy who carries the entire family. Forced to work out on the boat in treacherous waters that are not nearly as dark as his father. The story is told through the eyes of both Harry and Miles, and there is this underlying mystical current that flows through Harry and this strange, silent, restorative relationship with George and his dog Jake, the "spooky" neighbour. This story is sad, without a doubt, but people who know me know I love nothing more than learning the stories that come before and after the sadness.A great young Australian author now sits on my 5 star shelf and that makes me very happy.

  • Maree Kimberley
    2019-03-01 16:40

    Past the Shallows is a beautifully written, gripping and emotinally charged book. I read it within 2 days but a few times had to put it down so I could breathe because of its intensity.The language is deceptively simple. Each sentence is pitched to hold just the right amount of tension. There is a stillness about this book that draws you in and binds you to it. Each character feels real, as though they're people you've seen or have known. When any of them are lost, you feel the hurt.This is the type of book that makes you glad that books exist. Highly recommended and look forward to more work by this author.

  • CaroB
    2019-03-20 18:36

    What a powerful story. For all it's relatively short length, this story about two young boys after a devastating family tragedy, packs a bleak and angsty punch. Extremely well written, I appreciated the way the back-story was revealed through memories, and found the prose poignant yet succinct. Unlike Tim Winton, who tends to leave me unimpressed, Ms Parrett's writing was beautiful, her descriptions eloquent and thought-provoking. The water was as much a character in this book as the people. One word of warning though: Do not read this book if you're already in an emotional slump.