Saturday, September 6, 2014

"When the night comes" by Favel Parrett

I read "When the night comes" by Favel Parrett as part of the Aussie Author Challenge. It is set in Hobart, Tasmania and also Antarctica during the 1980s, and features the 'great little ship' "Nella Dan". The "Nella Dan" is a real ship, one of four ships leased from a Danish shipping line and used by the Australian government during the 1950-1980s for various Antarctic trips. The story is mostly fictional, but with enough accurate details thrown in to make it realistic and believable. 

It is hard to know how to describe this book and do it justice. It doesn't really have an in-depth story line, and mostly the characters are not fully fleshed out, yet this book really captured me on an emotional level. The chapters are mostly quite short, sometimes only 1-2 pages long, and are mostly told from the perspective of 2 main characters - Isla - a young lonely girl (primary school age I think) living in Hobart with her mother and her even younger brother, or Bo, a Danish sailor on board the "Nella Dan" who visits Hobart multiple times on route to Macquarie Island and the Australian Antarctic bases and befriends Isla and her family. The book doesn't really have a storyline in the usual way, but almost seems to be vignettes of powerful moments in Isla and Bo's lives, that when collected together build up a story. It is mostly very sad and raw, and I felt quite emotional reading parts of it, maybe this was partially due to many chapters being written in either a very down to earth (Bo) or alternatively a childlike voice (Isla), somehow at odds with the events being described. I don't know why I liked or was so emotionally affected by this book and I ended up with lots of unanswered questions, but I do recommend it. 

"When the night comes" is the second book by the Australian author Favel Parrett (her first book was "Past the shallows"). I haven't read her first book, but I have added it to my 'to read' list as I am impressed with "When the night comes".   

Started reading: 31st August 2014 

Finished: 10th September 2014
My score: 8/10
Aussie Author Challenge stats: Female author, new to me, first published in 2014, genre: unknown. the back cover suggests it is 'Wintonesque' after Tim Winton, another Australian author.

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