Thursday, 26 November 2009

Review: Broken Glass / Adrian Stirling

Summary - Danny Clarke's best friend, Nile, is back in town. Having him around was a wild ride - the one thing worth living for in their vindictive, small-minded town. But after what Nile did, nothing can be the same...

Now that everyone in town wants Nile to disappear, Danny will need to choose sides. But which side is worse? And when he's pushed to the edge, what is Danny capable of? What are any of us capable of?

Review - Broken Glass, the debut work of Victorian secondary teacher, Adrian Stirling, is an evocative piece of writing. It’s dark, gritty and takes the reader to places they might not want to go, whether it is into the twisted mind of Nile or the arid heat of the township of Broken Glass. Having grown up in country Australia I knew these guys and their predicament, I could even taste the grit in the air. The vividness of the setting, the tension that builds throughout and the gripping characters all make for a compelling and involving read. Adrian Stirling has constructed a detailed look at a failing town and the stark and barren nature of the environment and its citizens.

It’s a striking debut, detailing the position that too many country teens find themselves in when escape isn’t an option. Danny is one of these unfortunate souls, a person whose choices bind him tighter as the past and dust kick up a storm. This book is important in that it tells a story of rural Australia, the darker side, the violence, the bigotry, the overwhelming sense of hopelessness and the silence that exists between a father and his son. While Nile’s return brings further unrest into Danny’s life, it allows the reader to trace the thoughts of a person who might only have one option left. Concluding with a shocker (no spoilers here) it leaves the reader with a mental picture of the country town that might need to be scrubbed clean. Broken Glass is an amazingly strong and unique debut and one heck of a read.

**It's a bit of a cheat but this is my introduction for this book as part of its nomination for the 2009 Inky Awards.

Published: 2008
Format: Paperback, 216 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Source of Review Copy: publisher
Origin: Australia

1 comment:

Udy Regan said...

I'd love to read a book that is able to capture some of rural Australia and if it's like what you've said, then it looks like it might be time to head down to the stores and ask if they can pull a copy out of storage for me!