The story takes place in the landscape that Winton knows so well, the scrubby sparse bush and salt-flats of Western Australia. Winton’s move away from his writing comfort zone of the ocean to the bush reveals his skills as a writer.We learn the background to Jaxie’s flight from home, his mother has died and his father is extremely violent, as he heads north to find the one person in the world he can rely on and who understands him, his cousin Lee.
Travelling on foot and with very limited resources, Jaxie comes across a remote shepherd’s hut and it’s sole occupant, Fintan. Jaxie and Fintan strike up a testy friendship that grows as they learn to rely on each other’s skills to survive in the harsh environment. Fintan never reveals to Jaxie why he is in the middle of nowhere in this very basic hut and Jaxie never reveals to Fintan why he is travelling alone in the bush.
One day Jaxie notices a distant noise that penetrates the usually silent bush. Jaxie’s investigation brings catastrophic results to Fintan and Jaxie.
The friendship between Jaxie and Fintan is one of Winton’s great creations
As with his last book, Eyrie, where the Perth heat plays a vital role, so does the bush in this striking book.