Jeanette Lewis's Reviews > The Shepherd's Hut

The Shepherd's Hut by Tim Winton
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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 drunkenness he has managed to accidently kill himself. Living in a small town, Jaxie believes that he will be blamed for the death of his father and so with a minimum of belongings sets out to head north. Up until this point the book is slow going, boring and for some readers it may seem to be regurgitations of the 6 o’clock news where violence enters our homes every evening. However the second half of the book sees Jaxie encounter an old hermit living in a hut in the middle of nowhere. The descriptions of the terrain leave no doubt in the readers mind that this is terrible country, a place in the wilderness where only the tough survive.
Fintan MacGillis, Irish, a priest and one could assume a Catholic priest who appears to have been dumped out at the hut by persons unknown whose names are never revealed and for reasons unknown. For all the secrecy Jaxie, already street smart by the very nature of the hermit’s vocation is suspicious and very guarded. It’s only at this point that the story starts to move and becomes less of a yawn. Jaxie with his own secret and belief that he is probably being pursued by the Police and Fintan with his secret, conversations are kept to the present. When a change in the wind direction occurs Jaxie hears an engine noise way off in the distance. Alarmed he sets out to discover the source. After a difficult hike in this salt country he eventually discovers an illegal set-up for which causes him great concern. He rushes back to the hut exhausted and starts to pack. Within 24 hours Jaxie realises he has made an error of judgement and also now more alarmed as he has left his binoculars behind. The outcome is predictable with Jaxie the only survivor.
The language used in this read is painfully annoying, words are written in a manner to relate speech of Australian slang and to try and confirm Jaxie as a poor and uneducated young man. Whether this is to appeal to an audience outside of Australia or simply to add to the slow story, it didn’t work for me. The attempt to give Fintan an Irish accent with spelling and words to indicate such, also annoying.
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Reading Progress

July 23, 2018 – Started Reading
July 29, 2018 – Shelved
July 29, 2018 – Shelved as: aussie-authors
July 29, 2018 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Rob (new)

Rob A good honest review Jeanette.

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