In 2011 Favel Parrett burst onto the Australian literary scene with her debut novel Past the Shallows. It was a beautiful story of three brothers and their fate. Set against a rugged Tasmanian landscape with water ever present, it became a best seller and in 2012 was short listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her follow up book has been anxiously awaited for, and I have just finished reading an advanced reading copy of it.
Again it is set in Tasmania and the water is heavily present. Young Isla and her brother have left mainland Australia with their mother to begin a new life in chilly Hobart. Bo is a crew member on the Danish Antarctic resupply ship Nella Dan. He is a big man, and when he is in Hobart between voyages, his reassuring bulk makes Isla feel that a new and better life is possible. The story is told from alternating points of view. Isla as a child, and then later as a grown up, and from Bo as he expresses his love for Nella Dan and sadness at a crew mate’s death. It’s about new beginnings, big and life changing moments and adventurous expeditions.
Favel Parrett has a style that almost lulls you into the story. The cold and risks of Antarctic journeys are present but never oppressively so, despite the sad ending of Nella Dan. I have just finished the book, but I think I will start reading it again. I’m sure there are nuances I’ve missed. When the Night Comes deserves just as much success as Past the Shallows.
If you enjoyed Past the Shallows, you won’t be disappointed. It’s not due for publication until September, but you pre order now if you like. It will be $28