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The Shark Net

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,245 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Author(s): Robert Drewe ISBN: 9780143002154 Binding: Paperback Published: 2003-06-01 Aged six, Robert Drewe moved with his family from Melbourne to Perth, the world's most isolated city - and proud of it. This sun-baked coast was innocently proud, too, of its tranquillity and friendliness. Then a man he knew murdered a boy he also knew. The murderer randomly killed eight s ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Penguin Australia (first published March 30th 2000)
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,245 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Dillwynia Peter
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a witty, funny and traumatic memoir of Robert Drewe growing up in Perth in the 1950s & 60s. There are some incredibly funny bon mots and turns of phrase that had me cackling in my seat. It is evocative of an Australia that is not more (actually a world that is no more).

Until the iron ore mining boom, Perth was an isolated oversized town on the edge of the continent. Drewe writes: a city of branch managers for companies with head offices over east. And that would sum up the upper busi
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't remember very much about this book. I purchased it in a bookstore in Rome, one of the very few books in english they had, and read it while riding trains up through italy, germany, switzerland, and holland.
Outside a coffee shop in venice a young couple from australia saw me reading this and they knew the book. We drank some beers and had a laugh that night and i felt the world a bit smaller and a bit safer and a bit easier to abide.

That being said i remember nothing of the book itself.
Lyn Elliott
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Shark Net won three Australian prizes in the year after it was published and was praised highly in reviews by writers such as Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Carey and Jim Crace. A reviewer in The New York Times compared Drewe's Perth to Camus' North Africa - 'blinding in its brightness'.

Drewe conveys the essence of childhood and adolescence in this hot, isolated city, where most outdoor life is lived by the sea or the wide Swan River. He writes economically and creates vivid images of people and
John Clarke
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Don't be confused by the blurb. This book is not as interesting as it paints itself to be. Although the general writing in the book is quite good, Robert Drewes storytelling skills are not. Drewe would rather focus on his childhood in this memoir rather than the horrific murders Eric Cooke was commiting at the time. His priorities when telling his own story are all out of wack. There are more pages talking about Dunlop shoes then they are about the far more interesting serial killer, Eric Cooke. ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while living in Perth for just over a year. I loved how it captured the essence of the place, even though it was set many decades in the past. All of the place names were very familiar to me, and much of the story takes place right in the neighborhood that we lived in. Having said that, I do not think this book would have resonated as strongly with me had I not had this personal connection to the setting. The story itself held my interest well enough, but the narrative wasn't re ...more
Alexis Mantheakis
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book about the journalist-writer's life in Perth when a friend of his is killed by a person he also knew. A wonderful dissection of the writer's adolescence in what prides itself on being the world's most isolated city. Written with brilliant observations, sharp humour, and great narrative. The book was given to me by a friend who lives in Perth when I visited him last November, my first time in Australia, and I have re-read the book three times already. A really gifted Australian wr ...more
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I saw Robert Drewe speak at a literature conference of a number of authors back in school, and it spurred me on to read this book. Captivating and wonderful-should be considered an Aussie classic.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read the first few chapters... then flung the book across the room. That's how good it was.
 Nathaniel  Maldonado
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who likes sharks
Recommended to Nathaniel by: John Clarke
sharks are scary
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Incredible read, amazingly written. Not what I was expecting at all, but really glad I picked it up. Highly recommended.
Rahul Dickstein
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
This bildungsroman eclipses Drewe's loss of innocence during his childhood in the world's most isolated city; Perth, full of tranquility and friendliness. The first few chapters are very sluggish and slow-moving however soon enough this vibrant and haunting memoir reaches beyond the dark recesses of murder and chaos and can easily spark interest and capture your attention. Juxtaposing to the ordinary suburban backdrop of an innocent Perth, Drewe contrasts the murder grounds of the killer, going ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-this-one
I've known of this books existance for many years, but had never got around to reading it until now.

A great book, based in my home town, it is intresting to read of events in the time that my mother would have been hearing of them and living them.

I love that the author knew people involved in the crimes, and the insight to the way people thought at the time (a child born out of wedlock, is more shocking than a couple commiting audultry??) is facinating.

Love the book, anyone from Perth West Austr
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engagingly written and insightful snapshot of Perth in the 50's and 60's. Finally found a WA book actually about Perth and not set in the country somewhere!
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian
Really good!
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, australian
Bla bla and more bla bla. Initially quite entertaining, but then just plain dull
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
While the writing was great, only a very small part of the book was about the murders, the rest was just a memoir of his life. Disappointing
I read Robert Drewe's Grace quite a few years ago and I've been meaning to read something more by him for a while. Rather than dibbling into more fiction, I've come to his memories, The Shark Net. These cover the first twenty or so years of his life, growing up in Perth, Australia in the 40s and 50s. A very different world from my own childhood, both because I come from a completely different decade, and, from the north of England, the other side of the world.

It was an interesting, and honest re
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
The Shark Net is a cultural study as well as a memoir, with all the suspense and color of a novel. Drewe's voice expresses unusually complex qualities: detachment and ironic humor, love of people and place, empathy. The portraits of his company man father, his mother whose talents have been laid aside, and even the serial murderer who brings such dark contrast to a sunny but very strange, provisional landscape, are the highlights of this story. Drewe makes little of himself, recounting his own a ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A well crafted memoir of growing up on the West Australian Coast through the 50’s and 60’s.

The time is set when Eric Cooke was murdering people and breaking into homes across Nedlands and Cottlesloe, and these events follow the authors growing up.

The authors family life is intriguing and I felt could have been explored more. There’s dysfunction there.

3 Stars possibly a bit mean for this well written and regarded memoir.
Jabiz Raisdana
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was odd reading a memoir about someone I had never heard of, but a recommendation from a friend was all I needed.

Drewe is clearly a skilled writer, because even the most mundane tales of his childhood were a pleasure to read. A natural storyteller, Drewe gives you a sense of the 1960 in Western Australia. The story of the serial killer is woven in nicely with the story of his growing up.
Trina-Jean Peters
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
All I can say I live in Nedlands and this is a very cool glimpse into Perth life then (and to varying degrees now), but knowing the addresses of where people were murdered (which are NEARBY) is incredibly disconcerting.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For someone who moved to Perth in the 90-ties, it is a very interesting and informative read about well known suburbs and beaches of Fremantle and Perth in 1950, 6o-ties.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Good to teach. Less entertaining to read in the current political climate. Still makes me yearn for the years we lived in Perth.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
It was a good read but some parts were a bit long. I live in Perth so it was definitely eerie reading about places I am familiar with.
Georgia Phillips
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Growing up in 1950s-60s Perth. What a laugh. But how things can change. R D top writer.
Not what I had expected. Interesting read all the same.
L.E. Truscott
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a book that relies on a fudged blurb to draw readers in. “Aged six, Robert Drewe moved with his family from Melbourne to Perth, the world’s most isolated city – and proud of it. This sun-baked coast was innocently proud, too, of its tranquillity and friendliness. Then a man he knew murdered a boy he also knew.”

The murder happened when the author was already a fully grown man working as a journalist and the boy who was murdered was also fully grown by that stage and about to embark on a v
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really great read about growing up in Perth and it's complications

I can somewhat identify with the author of The Shark Net as I moved to Perth at a young age, grew up there and then moved out as soon as I could (but I came back after some years!).

Robert Drewe has written a beautiful memoir about the positives, negatives and challenges about living in one of the most isolated cities on earth. It was unusual for me to actually recognise street names and locations in a novel, since so few good ones
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this is a surprise packet of a book. I found it on my bookshelf and can't remember buying it, but I clearly did. It is an autobiographical account of Drewe's growing up in Perth 'the most isolated city in the world' during a period in which a serial killer was on the loose for over 5 years. Eight people were killed and others injured over this period, using many different methods including a gun, an axe and running someone down with a car. The killings were in a close geographical area to D ...more
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gave-up-on
The Shark Net, By Robert Drewe, is an excellent example, or more accurately a memoir, of 1950s and 1960s Perth. A world as written in the novel no longer exists, where everyone knew each other, scandals would become public quickly, the open-living and everyone would worry about their public appearance.

A significant aspect of this novel is Drewe's close relationship to the killer. Robert knew the man full well, working for his father and bringing in furniture to Robert's house, and how the event
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what else 4 10 Sep 29, 2013 10:21AM  
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Robert Drewe is among Australia’s most loved writers – of novels, memoir and short stories. His iconic Australian books include The Shark Net, The Bodysurfers and Our Sunshine. He is also editor of Black Inc.’s Best Australian Stories annual series. Recently, he has revisited the short story himself, with a masterful new collection, The Rip. Jo Case spoke to him for Readings about storytelling.
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“It always gave me a peculiar feeling to catch a glimpse of my parents' lives before I was born.” 4 likes
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