The Broken Shore by Peter Temple (second post)

Now that I have finished my second time reading, I am adding a few comments on some sections of the book in the latter part of the story which illustrate elements of the story for me . As I mentioned earlier I think the dialogue is the outstanding aspect of this book along with the masterful characterisation. The dialogue takes up about 30 to 40% of the text so it reads a bit like a script or a play. The book is very intense for this reason especially. It gives it a cinematic quality accordingly.

The edition which I read and that which is normally readily available in Australia is the Text Publishing Co Edition 2007 reprinted four or five times since 2005. It has no chapter headings so I have listed page numbers in my references which I hope will make sense to readers.

1.Page 228 Par 2 and 3. In this small section we are reminded about Cashin having taken up reading seriously (Conrad , Austen, Dickens etc) during his recuperation following the gunfight with the criminal Rai Sarris in Melbourne when one of Cashin's colleagues was killed and Cashin injured - this all happened before our story began . We get a picture of how nervous he is with the love interest Helen in his seaside rural shack as he takes her through to the kitchen. These few lines illustrate humour and the way in which a little conversation means a lot in this story. and I quote ...

"this is where you go after balls" said Helen . "The less formal room . It's warm"
"This is where we withdraw to", he said "The withdrawing room" . He had read this term somewhere, hadnt known it before Rai Sarris, that was certain.

2. Page 285 and the chapter following when Cashin goes to the Daunt Aboriginal settlement to talk with Chris Pascoe is brilliant - it's tough with strong vernacular but clear and full of the personalities of the people involved. Very good realism.

3. Page 335 - the chapter where Cashin confronts Erica Bourgoyne with the facts relating to her brother and step-father and her cold overseeing of the dreadful revenge on the paedophile is very stark . The reactions of Joe Cashin and Erica are brilliantly laid out through the spare and pointed dialogue .

These are just a few sections towards the end of the book which indicate, I hope, the range of the plot in this very literary thriller - it has many turns and is played out with a very well drawn cast of characters.

The Broken Shore by Peter Temple

The Broken Shore , an Australian crime thriller, was first published in Melboune in 2005 by Text - a small clever local publishing house. It has won prizes internationally (Inc the UK Dagger and the Australian Ned Kelly -and isn't that a great name for a crime writing award? ). The book has been very positively reviewed and published in many countries. Temple is often referred to as a literary crime writer. Kerryn Goldsworthy writing in the Australian said of it as a book of the year selection "The writing is tight, the plot gallops along, the atmosphere is intermittently spooky with truly chilling moments, the characterisation is masterful" . I totally agree with this quote which I think is a succinct summary of the main attributes of this book.

I read it first about 18 months ago, enjoyed it then and that is why i am now recommending it. I am now half way through reading it again and finding that I like it even more and getting more out of it.

Some of the special elements I would highlight, along with those in the quote above, are the brilliant dialogue and the evocation of atmosphere with attention to unusual detail. The dialogue is as good as it gets. The richness of the characterisation comes through the masterful way the dialogue unfolds. The scenic and other narration details round out the tapestry well. Dog and animal lovers will find much to wonder at and the Victorian countryside and southern coastline are painted as well as an artist might.

The book requires careful reading because it is so tightly written and evokes authenticity. I note the major US Publisher, Farrar Strauss needed a legend re the vernacular for its US edition. I dont read very much in this genre however Temple is one I admire very much- and if you as with me don't venture into this category much - please try Temple. In summary - it is a tough plot with very fine characterisation, vernacular dialogue and verisimilitude re the country side and Australian social reality. It is a surprisingly rich tapestry for a crime thriller - and by the way there is an engaging investigating cop - Joseph Cashin who gets you in.

I am yearning to get some feedback on this one - I will post with some of the sections which illuminate special aspects of the book a little later when I have finished my second reading.