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“Hi, my name’s Favel Parrett. I’m going to read from my novel Past the Shallows.
Out past the shallows, past the sandy-bottomed bays, comes the dark water – black and cold and roaring. Rolling out the invisible paths. The ancient paths to Bruny, or down south along the silent cliffs, the paths out deep to the bird islands that stand tall between nothing but water and sky.
Wherever rock comes out of deep water, wherever reef rises up, there is abalone. Black-lipped soft bodies protected by shell.
Harry stood on the sand and looked down the wide, curved beach of Cloudy Bay. Everything was clean and golden and crisp, the sky almost violet with the winter light, and he wished that he wasn’t afraid. They were leaving him again, his brothers, Miles already half in his wetsuit and Joe standing tall, eyes lost to the water.
Water that was always there. Always everywhere. The sound and the smell and the cold waves making Harry different. And it wasn’t just because he was the youngest. He knew the way he felt about the ocean would never leave him now. It would be there always, right inside him.
That was just how it was.
‘What should I find?’ he asked.
Joe shook his dry wetsuit out hard. ‘Um . . . A cuttlefish bone, a nice bit of driftwood.’
‘A shark egg,’ Miles said. And there was silence. Harry waited for Miles to say he was joking, waited for him to say something, but he didn’t. He just kept waxing his board.
So Harry stood up and ran.
He followed the marks of high tide left behind on the sand and his eyes skimmed the pebbles, the shiny jelly sacks, the broken shells. Cuttlefish were easy but shark eggs were impossible. They looked just like seaweed. He kept thinking he’d found one only to realise it was just a bit of kelp or a grimy pebble. There was hardly any point trying. But he did try. He always found everything on the list. Always.”
ABOUT FAVEL PARRETT:
Favel Parrett’s debut novel Past the Shallows was published in May 2011 by Hachette Australia. She is currently working on her second and looking forward to an upcoming research trip to Macquarie Island.
Short-listed for the Varuna/Scribe New Australian Stories Anthology – September 2010
Short-listed for the Varuna Publishing Fellowships – November 2009
Varuna Professional Development Residency – December 2008
Past the Shallows – (novel-fiction) 2011 Published by Hachette Australia
Story, Izzy and Ona –Best Australian Short Stories Black Inc. 2011 * yet to be published
Story, No Man is and Island – Griffith Review Island edition 2011 * yet to be published.
Story, The Little Kingfisher, published in Island – January 2010.
Story, Waterproof, Lightweight, Good in Snow, published in Wet Ink Issue 16 – September 2009
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