Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, I really enjoyed reading Bluebottle by Belinda Castles. From Allen and Unwin:
With sea-salt authenticity, Belinda Castles sets the Bright family in the sprawling paradise of Bilgola Beach. But darkness is found both in the iconic setting as well as in the disturbing behaviour of one of the family.
The story and the beautiful language all build a tense emotional feeling. It’s a subtle psychological thriller which plays out jumping backwards and forwards 20 years in time. We learn the emotional impact of having a father who is psychologically unstable, and verging on committing domestic violence.
There is a young teenage girl that has gone missing, and there’s a lot to imply that the father’s instability is a result of him having done something to that girl, and is hiding what he’s done. We don’t learn until the end whether the father is dead or in gaol.
And what really happened is a bit of a twist, and a great ending.
There are pieces of language in this book that are just magical, and I really wish I could write like Belinda. The anxious teenage boy who turns into a self-conscious mess of a man, has some insight which is poetic:
‘… Tiny things could change the future, if you were brave enough to make things happen instead of watching your life unfold helplessly, peering at it from between your fingers …’
A highly recommended piece of Australian fiction by an amazingly talented Australian woman.