One-eyed Captain Jack Falconer is a man with many secrets. It's 1938, the eve of World War II, and a pearling lugger in the Torres Strait is the place he chooses to hide. But Jack's demons follow him out to sea and rise to the surface just as surely as the pearl shell his divers collect from the dangers of the deep.Embittered, intelligent and self-destructive, Jack's onlyOne-eyed Captain Jack Falconer is a man with many secrets. It's 1938, the eve of World War II, and a pearling lugger in the Torres Strait is the place he chooses to hide. But Jack's demons follow him out to sea and rise to the surface just as surely as the pearl shell his divers collect from the dangers of the deep.Embittered, intelligent and self-destructive, Jack's only way to prove himself is to compete with, defeat and destroy the very weaknesses he fears.Set in the expansive and beautiful Coral Sea, this bold combination of the claustrophobia of a small boat, its young crew and their dangerous Captain holds the reader breathless until the last page is turned....
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A absolutely mesmerising descent into madness on board a Torres Strait pearling lugger in the 1930s. At first, Captain Jack (through whose first-person point-of-view the novel is narrated) seems like a reasonable man, given the era and harsh working conditions. After all, a reader's sympathy is naturally inclined towards the central character. But slowly - through his treatment of the indigenous and foreign workers he has hired, and the conversations he has with his dead wife - we come to see him in a different light. I loved the harsh poetry of this novel. The descriptions of the lugger and the diving conditions were by turns lyrical and stark. The historical setting was vividly evoked. In short, I have no doubt this verse novel will become a classic of Australian literature.
Jack is clearly going crazy after events he has either rightly or wrongly assessed from his life become too much for him. The interaction between Jack and the other characters on board the ship was well done, although I did get a bit confused as to who was who at times between Sandy, Clive and Georgie. The ending was fitting.This was not at all what I was expecting when I picked this up. The formatting for the book is kind of strange but once you get into it, you don't notice it as much.
I loved this book. I love the writing style and I really enjoyed the story. Judy has a way of saying so much in just a few words. I can't wait to read more of her work. If you like Dorothy Porter, Amanda Leigh, or verse novels in general, you'll love this.