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The Shepherd's Hut

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  7,049 ratings  ·  885 reviews
Tim Winton is Australia's most decorated and beloved novelist. Short-listed twice for the Booker Prize and the winner of a record four Miles Franklin Literary Awards for Best Australian Novel, he has a gift for language virtually unrivaled among writers in English. His work is both tough and tender, primordial and new - always revealing the raw, instinctual drives that lur ...more
Hardcover, 267 pages
Published March 12th 2018 by Hamish Hamilton (first published March 8th 2018)
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Megan Bailey I'm thinking maybe the priest was in Rwanda. There is a mention of him sitting under a butterfly tree (native to Sth Africa) and watching a lot of bod…moreI'm thinking maybe the priest was in Rwanda. There is a mention of him sitting under a butterfly tree (native to Sth Africa) and watching a lot of bodies being buried. The Pope apologised for the Catholic church's part in Rwanda massacres in recent years and presumably there may have been a fair bit of cover up before that. (There is also a mention of money being a possible issue so not sure if that could be related to Rwanda...in any event, it's not about child abuse). (less)

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Angela M
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Even though it was years ago, I remember when I first discovered Tim Winton . I would frequently spend part of a Sunday afternoon at my favorite bookstore which sadly is no longer in existence. I would browse the shelves not looking for anything in particular and I picked up Cloudstreet because I was attracted to the title. I bought it, read it and loved it . After that I read Dirt Music and Breath. I was drawn to read this because of my enjoyment of those novels. If you haven’t read Winton, I w
...more
Dianne
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018
Oh, YES! All the stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I LOVED this gritty, raw and deeply atmospheric tale about a cruelly abused Australian teen boy, Jaxie, who sets out across the harsh Australian wildlands to escape a mess of a situation at home. In his journey across the brutal and unforgiving landscape of West Australia, Jaxie encounters Fintan MacGillis, an elderly Irish priest living in exile in a tin shack by a large salt lake. They develop a tentative, prickly relationship which leads to a level of mu
...more
Paula
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paula by: Dianne
This is my first book by Australia’s Tim Winton. THE SHEPHERD’S HUT is set in the remote and brutal land of Western Australia.

An abused teen named Jaxie Clackton leaves home after his father’s death knowing that he will be blamed whether or not he did the killing. Leaving with only water and a rifle, he heads out by foot to find his girlfriend Lee. During his harsh journey he comes across an exiled priest, Fintan MacGillis, living in a shepherd’s hut all alone.

This is the story of an interestin
...more
Fran
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jackson "Jaxie" Clackton, 16 years old, was continually abused by his dad, Sid Clackton. Clackton, master butcher in the town of Monkton, used Jaxie as a punching bag. Jaxie was a bad tempered school delinquent nicknamed "Jaxie Horsemeat" by his peers. In turn, he enjoyed punching students for ill-treating him. Jaxie was currently nursing a black eye given to him during one of Clackton's drunken rages. Wishing and hoping his dad would die, imagine his shock finding his father crushed under a car ...more
John Purcell
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brutal. That is the word that best describes Tim Winton’s new novel, The Shepherd’s Hut. Brutal. I felt bruised and winded on finishing it. Parched and dusty. I stared around me and the familiar was unfamiliar. The valued, valueless.

Jaxie Clackton is a speck on the huge expanse of the WA desert. He is on the run from the law. The outcast’s outcast just desperate to find the one person who really gets him.

And that’s all I want to tell you. The rest you can find out for yourself. And you will find
...more
Bianca
It is a big event in the Australian publishing world whenever Tim Winton comes up with a new book. This highly anticipated novel didn’t disappoint. The more I think about it, the more I’m impressed. I mean, I shouldn’t be, because it’s Tim Freakin’ Winton. Every author has the right to come up with duds now and then. You probably heard people-in-the-know bemoaning the dying literary novel etc. It may be so, but don’t tell that to the many people who buy Tim Winton’s novels. Case in point, a few ...more
Ace
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I basically stopped breathing for the last section of this book.

Tim Winton, literary genius.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Vanessa
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
The truth is I’ve been reluctant to pick up another Tim Winton book, I tried reading Cloudstreet back in my early 20’s and only managed a third of the book before abandoning it, so for me I wasn’t overly enthusiast about picking this book up. But I’m sure glad I did. This felt different to Cloudstreet as the writing here feels raw, intense and brutal it’s a story that wasn’t easy to read but I was compelled nevertheless. The Australian remote bush setting and the language was used effectively to ...more
Mary
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know what I’m getting into with a Tim Winton book - anguish, scorching landscape, beauty, and characters that are damaged, broken, and often irredeemable. His books are brazenly West Australian, outdoorsy and blokey; I’m none of these things, yet oddly when I open a Tim Winton book it’s often because I’m homesick. The people and places of his books have almost nothing to do with the faraway and urban side of the continent where I grew up...so how does he make me so nostalgic and brooding? The ...more
Meike
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia, 2018-read
In this book, Winton writes like an Australian version of Cormac McCarthy who decided to tackle the topic of toxic masculinity - yes, you heard that right, and the result is absolutely astounding. The story is told from the perspective of protagonist and antihero Jaxie Clackton (who speaks in strong Australian slang), a teenage boy who grew up with a violent, alcoholic father and a mother who stood by and failed to protect him, until she finally died from cancer. When his father dies by accident ...more
PattyMacDotComma
5★
“I peered up the street through the shadows and just to squint that tiniest bit hurt to the living f**k. When I touched me face it felt like a punkin full of razor blades.”


Jaxie Clackton, 15, has just come to and escaped after being knocked out and tossed in the bone bin by his father in his butcher shop. Just the latest of the many times he’s survived a beating at the hands of Captain Wankbag, as he calls him, or the Cap.

Mum says that’s not respectful. Well, yeah, it’s not. And her point is?
...more
Carolyn
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jaxie Claxton, an abused and neglected 15 year old is on the run after he arrived home to discover his father crushed to death under his car. After his brutal upbringing, he's long wanted his father dead and is sure the police will blame him. He sets off ill-equipped to travel north across the dry and unforgiving WA salt plains to the only person who has ever cared for him, a girl called Lee. Jaxie is a curious mixture - in many ways he is old beyond his years and in others he is naive and immat ...more
Barbara
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This powerful book tells the story of two outcasts, seemingly very different, who develop an unlikely friendship with many bumps along the way. Set in desolate, but beautiful western Australia the fifteen-year-old Jaxie and the Irish priest, Fintan, find meaning and purpose that change their lives.

So many themes in this book are frequently found in novels, but Winton's superior writing brings such a fresh approach. Decency, humanity, loyalty, spirituality, courage, and death are poignantly portr
...more
Gumble's Yard
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Anything with blood in it can probably go bad. Like meat. And it’s the blood that makes me worry. It carries things you don’t even know you got. Sometimes I wonder if that nasty meanness is in me too, like he’s passed it on. Does that mean I’m gunna be that way? To Lee? And our own kids ... thinking like that puts the wind up me. To live you gotta be hard, I know that.


I was drawn to this book, my first by this (twice Booker shortlisted) author, by an intriguing excerpt in The Guardian from a
...more
Sharon
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jaxie Clackton is only fifteen years old, but his life so far has been a lifetime of misery, abuse and neglect. Jaxie had always wished his father was dead because of the manner he treated him, but you know what they say be careful what you wish for. When Jaxie returns home one day it looks like his wish had come true when he discovers his father dead, crushed under a car that he had obviously been working on. Jaxie wasn’t sticking around to get the blame for the death of his father that was for ...more
Tara Rock
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Tim Winton novel and it certainly won't be the last. I enjoyed the stunning flavor of the language, the vivid landscape descriptions, and what we didn't learn was of little consequence. Soooo good.
Julie Christine
I love Tim Winton's writing in the same way that I love Jane Austen's: the specificity of landscape and language that each possesses. Is that nuts? To compare Winton to Austen? Perhaps it seems a stretch, but think about it. They both wholly inhabit their vernacular, whether it's Regency England or 21st century Australia, without explanation or apology. They write of family, the small stage that is affected by world events that remain in the tangential; what matters to these writers are the dram ...more
Trudie
I am beginning to know early on now when I am about to 5-star a book, and in this case the opening chapter pretty much confirmed it. For me there was just something magical in the writing even before the story takes shape. It's a good sign when time outside the book ceases to exist, your right there camping in the Salmon gums with Jaxie Clackton. Getting the "yips" as he would say, but being too staunch to admit it.

If the great Australian western was a genre then Tim Winton would be the master.
...more
Michael
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a spare and elemental tale, somewhere between a biblical parable and Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Jaxie is a lad of 15 running away from home, a tiny town in Western Australia. After his mother dies of cancer, it just got too tough to put up with the perpetual physical abuse from his alcoholic father (Captain Wankbag he calls him). He sets out on foot to cross a salt desert to get to his cousin Lee, a girlfriend who was the only light of his life before the family put an end to their se ...more
Ron Charles
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guys-wandering
Tim Winton’s new novel hovers between a profane confession and a plea for help. A distinctly Down Under story by this most Australian writer, “The Shepherd’s Hut” is almost too painful to read, but also too plaintive to put down.

The narrator is Jaxie Clackton, a troubled teenage boy who lost his mother to cancer and suffered years of beatings from his drunken father. Jaxie has fantasized about killing his old man for so long that when he finds him dead in the garage, he panics: “They’ll say I ki
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
When I made my summer reading recommendations, I pointed out that there seems to be a "new western" genre emerging. At the time, it was female authors taking on the genre in new and interesting ways. But I think this book also merits inclusion in the category, despite its theme of toxic masculinity (words I've seen in almost every review I've read about it and every interview with the author, so not my box.)

Last year, I read this author's "landscape memoir" about Western Australia, Island Home.
...more
Collin
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My review of this got lost when my account was deleted.

All I really need to say is "It's WINTON!" :)
Claire
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tim Winton is basically a genius. I can’t believe it took me so long to start reading this novel, or to finish it once I started. The Shepherd’s Hut is an exceptional, thorough, and critical study of toxic masculinity culture. Jaxie Clackton is a vivid antihero- an unforgettable Australian voice; a voice that speaks for generations of young men, brought up in tough places and tough times, and for whom adults have been found wanting. This too, is a novel of Australia, Winton writes with precision ...more
Lee
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5.5 rounded down.
Hugh
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2019
This book has been on my to-read list since a number of trusted friends tipped it for last year's Booker longlist. I can see why, but as the second Winton book I have read after Dirt Music, I suspect that he will remain a writer I admire more than love.

This is a raw, elemental and often brutal story of survival in the harsh semi-desert landscape of rural Western Australia. The narrator Jaxie has grown up in the shadow of a brutal drunk of a father, and his mother is dead. When he finds his fathe
...more
Eric Anderson
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winton is a writer particularly skilled at showing the hidden emotional depths of hard men for whom sentimentality seems anathema. Reviewer Cathleen Schine described Winton as a “practitioner of what might be called the school of Macho Romanticism.” Many of his male characters are strong on the surface, conceal their feelings through silence or crude talk and refuse to divulge the emotionally complicated aspects of their past. Jaxie, the teenage protagonist of Winton’s new novel states “Our stor ...more
Matthew
Vividly written characters drawn with empathy and grace and an engrossing story. It was painful to stop reading this book. One of my favorites of the year.
Jeanette Lewis
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: aussie-authors
Jaxie Clackton is a young man who has already experienced a harsh life and where love has been a scarce commodity. Along with his mother (deceased early in the book) both have endured the violence dished out to them by the husband/father, a very nasty piece of goods. The first half of the book is of Jaxie’s difficult life and events seem to go nowhere until one night after coming home late after a beating from his father he discovers that through his father’s own stupidity and probably drunkenne ...more
Tooter
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars. It took me a while to get used to the Australian lingo which was a little distracting. Still it was a beautifully written book.
Lisa
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do I start with this amazing novel?
Winton portrays the most layered, oscillating portrait of a 15 year boy that I can recall. He is alternately terrified, terrifying, tough, tender, calloused, love-struck, obtuse, clever, a liar, sincere, brutal and open-hearted. The relationship between Jaxie and Fintan MacGillis is just brilliantly done. And the setting - like nothing I have read before! Not even in previous Winton novels. This stunning novel grabbed me from page one. I loved, loved the
...more
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Tim Winton was born in Perth, Western Australia, but moved at a young age to the small country town of Albany.

While a student at Curtin University of Technology, Winton wrote his first novel, An Open Swimmer. It went on to win The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1981, and launched his writing career. In fact, he wrote "the best part of three books while at university". His second book, Shallows
...more

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