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Another Night in Mullet Town

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People like you and me, Jonah, we drag down the price of everything we touch.

Life for Jonah and Manx means fishing for mullet at the lake, watching their school mates party on Friday night and wishing they had the courage to talk to Ella and Rachel.

But now their lakeside town is being sold off, life doesn't seem so simple. Manx holds a grudge against the wealthy blow-ins from the city and Jonah just wants his parents to stop arguing.

One memorable night at the lake will change everything.

224 pages, Paperback

Published June 27, 2016

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Steven Herrick

53 books96 followers

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5 stars
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24 (40%)
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Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,110 reviews6,574 followers
February 13, 2017
Thank you UQP for sending me this book! I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's written in verse beautifully and it captures teenagers, family, friends and class struggles so realistically, but I don't really think it was that memorable for me. I wish it packed more of a punch.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
November 10, 2016
Steven Herrick is without a doubt one of my favourite authors. With so few words, he can paint a vivid landscape of our communities and can capture the Australian spirit and determination. The fictional Australian town of Turon represents our coastal cities in which overdevelopment is destroying our landscape and community prosperity, an issue sixteen year old Manx feels deeply and personally.

Told in verse, Steven Herrick is able to capture Australian communities with appreciation, lyricism and authenticity in depicting the human condition. Gentle, lyrical and a ballad to Australia and our passionate patriotism.

A little piece of Australia that you read, you rejoice and you treasure.

And publishers, how about rebranding all his previous releases and releasing a box set? #justsayin
Profile Image for Steve lovell.
335 reviews16 followers
November 10, 2016
In the north western homelands of my youth I became a mullet fisherman. That was post-mobility though. Prior to my father giving me my first banger, a Fiat with suicide doors, I was confined. I couldn't get to mullet. My fishing was down at what is now termed Burnie Port which is, in this litigious age, well and truly off limits to the general public. But back in my youth it was a mecca for kids having their first fishing experiences. On the seaward side of Ocean Pier was a ledge, and we wanna-be fishermen flocked there after such piscatorial delights as 'couta, mackerel and cod. A barracouta was the prize and we all possessed a supply of 'couta lines. They were so delicious, fried and doused in vinegar – it seems a rarity these days. We'd walked through the gates of the wharf area, dodge the trucks and trains disgorging their wares and say good day to dozens of stevedores working at unloading the cargo vessels in those halcyon pre-containerisation days. My town's seawater was decidedly polluted from the heavy industry around Burnie's shores, all spewing effluent into the waters of Bass Strait, giving our briny a red tinge most of the time. But we would have our mum's cook up our catch – it hasn't seemed to have done us any lasting harm.

Obtaining my wheels freed me up to take my rod and reel to more distant locations in search of heavier bags of fish. One such destination was the mullet hole on the Inglis River, just west of Wynyard. The main feature of this angling nirvana was that the hole just happened to be under a pipe that would gush bloody waste from a chicken processing factory on the opposite bank. If our luck was in and the pipe had recently deposited we simply had to cast our multi-hooked line in and there were dozens of mullet for the taking, and sometimes some tasty by-product, such as bream, as well. Mullet is considered poor eating by some aficionados, only good for cray-bait, but I thought they were just fine – even if, from that particular source, they had a slight poultry flavour. It didn't matter much what you baited those hooks with there. In the feeding frenzy those silvery fish engaged in there any grub or sand-worm looked much the same as chook gizzards. Bag limits didn't exist in our world, so you pulled them in until you were tired of it. The fish could be filleted and frozen, given away to the neighbours or provide cat tucker for months.

All good things come to an end and heading south to uni virtually ended my days as a fisherperson. But I am delighted that my son now possesses the urge to take to sea in search of scaly denizens of the deep, so I cast my line in these days vicariously. But it's not mullet that excites him, I'm afraid.

So maybe I was destined to love Steven Herrick's evocative verse novel 'Another Night in Mullet Town'. I have followed Herrick's career since he took up wordwrangling thirty or so years ago – once he realised he wasn't going to be the next Beckham to take the soccer world by storm. He has been producing sublime reading fodder for youngsters and the young at heart for decades now, many in the verse format. Earlier titles such as 'Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair', 'Water Bombs' and Love Poems and Leg-spinners' I once used in the classroom to bring joy to my students, as well as to prove to them that poetry was alive and well and a living art.

'ANinMT' focuses on two mates, mullet catchers Jonah and Manx, living in almost coastal Turon, a place that has seen better days – but with property developers circling to make a bucket with the sea-changers. For now, though. the place is a struggle-town and marriages, including those of the parents of the two boys, struggle too. So when a big-city moneybags comes sniffing around, complete with an obnoxious offspring, who joins their Year 10 class, the life for the lads becomes suddenly more complicated. The obsequious money-bags, Mr Lloyd-Davis, is intent on buying up all he can in Turon town to turn the hamlet into another blandsville full of McMansions. He figures he can make a killing. The lads mount a guerrilla campaign to thwart him. Here we have shades of 'Lockie Leonard Scumbuster' and from the tele, 'Sea Change', with more recently, '800 Words.' But Herrick does it so well he is not at all derivative. The book is a mere 200 pages, easily consumable in one or two sittings and it's more than a David and Goliath tale. It's about sticking by your mates, familial love and coming of age. Jonah has his eye on Ella, Manx on Rachel – two feisty young townsmaidens. It takes a bit of courage to step across the line and make the first move on them. It's as hard to commit. Herrick writes engagingly on just how getting to grips with girls is not easy – the body is ready but the mind just cannot find the right words. Ella is a beautiful creation. She tenderly guides Jonah into losing his virginity in such a beguiling way. Herrick handles this with utmost sensitivity, indicated by his depiction of the reaction of Jonah's dad when he realises just what has occurred for his son.

Herrick's 2011 offering, 'Black Painted Fingernails', was a recent favourite of mine. 'Another Night in Mullet Town' is up there with that. So I say well done Mr Herrick – may you continue to give us these gems of books for young and old for many years to come. And you've given me cause to return, in my mind, back to those faraway days when I pulled the humble mullet out of a river by a chook factory.
Profile Image for Brona's Books.
514 reviews82 followers
July 17, 2016
Another Night in Mullet Town by Steven Herrick is a verse novel for teens set in a small coastal town with lots of fishing references.

How's that for a hard sell?

The trouble is, I adore Herrick's writing and his ability to draw complex, authentic characters with so few words.

He could probably write a story about boxing or a spider plague and I would still love it, although I hope he doesn't test me out on that score!

Of course, Another Night is Mullet Town is not just about fishing.

Herrick explores his usually themes of belonging, friendship, family and community. He also touches on trust and everyday courage.
Full review - http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/20...
Profile Image for Dimity Powell.
Author 32 books78 followers
July 21, 2016
Poetic, raw and real. Loved this verse coming of age novel by Herrick. Intelligent, genuine narrative about surviving on the peripheral of life, both emotionally and materialistically. I found the end petered out too matter-of-factly for me but life is not always full of neat and tidy endings. As long as the mullet continue to swim, there remains a glimmer of hope for the residents of Mullet Town - this is the departing assurance which is in itself enough. Look out for my full review on Boomerang Books Blog soon. http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/aut...
Profile Image for Sue.
965 reviews
July 9, 2016
i am always amazed at how Herrick is able to convey so much in his verse. he always deals with teen issues so that they are completely real. great characters and the class divìsions between rich and poor made evident.
Profile Image for Peter Bird.
Author 15 books3 followers
February 15, 2018
A gentle, poetic tale touching some of the lives of the locals from Mullet Town. Steven Herrick’s undeniably humane poems are interspersed into this short and yet quite fulfilling novel. If the characters don’t captivate you, don’t gel for you, don’t ring true to you, then I think I understand why: this book seems to want to speak to Herrick’s generation more so than the current one or even the last few. Whilst that is no fault of this story, I would not be surprised to learn that a lot of readers might feel this story doesn’t capture the essence of today’s youth, and lose some sort of relevance. Personally, I found it very charming and engaging. Time I visited Mullet Town for myself.
Herrick’s writing is deft, sharp and precise. There is no mincing about. No twenty page drearfest about hand embroidered crabs on the corner of a handkerchief (are you listening Mr Geore R. R. Martin?) You will learn enough about the characters to think about them and care about them long after you have finished reading the book. And what greater praise can I say about someone’s writing? None, I think.
Profile Image for Trisha.
1,969 reviews104 followers
May 13, 2017
I have always loved Herrick's verse novels, and this one is no different. It explores a lovely friendship between two teenage boys, each with his own issues he needs to sort. Lucky they can depend on each other.

The ongoing drama with the town's redevelopment and move towards generic, homogeneous charmless living, re-purposed for rich city dwellers, who only visit intermittently rang true, and struck a chord with me.

A lovely romance, a fractured family and two typical Aussie boys, in the best possible way. It's very nice.
Profile Image for Judy Wollin.
489 reviews3 followers
July 17, 2022
Jonah lives in a small, nearly beachside town. The loss of direct ocean access in a recent storm does not bode well for the town’s fortunes. There are the locals and the weekenders in the expensive holiday homes that a bigger and flashier than Jonah’s or his friend Manx’s.
Manx has a mullet and loves fishing for mullet too. Jonah spends all his time with Manx, avoiding the shouting and tension at home. Mum leaves, and Dad is a long-distance truck driver, so Jonah finds himself alone. How does life in Turon turnout for Jonah?
I enjoyed the verse style of the novel, the rich characters, sparse wording and loads of white space.
Recommended for readers aged 10 years and above. An excellent choice for reluctant readers or those who avoid crowded pages.
1,074 reviews7 followers
March 9, 2017
Life for Jonah and Manx means fishing for mullet at the lake, watching their school mates party on Friday night and wishing they had the courage to talk to Ella and Rachel.
But now their lakeside town is being sold off, life doesn't seem so simple. Manx holds a grudge against the wealthy blow-ins from the city and Jonah just wants his parents to stop arguing.
One memorable night at the lake will change everything.
Profile Image for Pauline .
779 reviews1 follower
December 27, 2016
Classic Herrick style and poignancy. Read earlier in the year but forgot to add.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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