Paul’s older brother, Elliot, has disappeared. No phone call. No letter. Nothing. Disheartened by the efforts of the police, Paul heads to the West Australian coastal town of Stark and takes Elliot’s place as a deckhand on the Arcadia, a fishing boat skippered by their troubled cousin, Jake. Did Elliot just up-and-leave or did he fall in with the wrong crowd? Is his disappearance somehow connected to the local drug-ring? Will Paul’s search for answers take him down a similar path?
These are just some the questions lurking in the background of Sam Carmody’s stunning debut, The Windy Season, more a coming-of-age tale than a standard crime-thriller. Shortlisted for the 2014 Australian/Vogel's Literary Award, Carmody’s novel is a voyage of discovery. Discovery of self. Discovery of truth. Discovery of place. The town of Stark lives and breathes on every page - this place of drifters, dreamers, criminals and lost boys - trumped only by the ocean itself, a character very much in its own right. Carmody’s prose are evocative and controlled, perfectly capturing the beautiful, mysterious, fierce nature of the sea. There’s danger here - a lot of it - but wonder, too.
I loved The Windy Season. The characters are well-drawn, the central mystery keeps those pages turning, and there are plenty of sentences I found myself reading aloud (to myself… like a crazy person). Welcome to a fresh, new voice in Australian literature. Highly recommended.