A tale about a boy's vision of the world beyond, and the blurry distinctions between the natural and supernatural.
At twelve years old, Morton - Ort for short - is not quite a child, but not yet an adult; his isolated outback world is an intriguing combination of boyish innocence, adolescent confusion and burgeoning awareness. When his father is seriously injured in a car crash, however, that world is suddenly thrown into complete disarray and the whole family have to adjust.
As Ort, his sister, mother and grandmother are struggling to come to terms with what has happened, a stranger appears in their midst. Preaching God's word, Henry Warburton's unexpected arrival seems eerily prescient, at a time when the family most need a helping hand, and Henry quickly makes himself indispensable. In fact, for Ort in particular, it is Henry's presence, perhaps more even than his father's accident, that brings the greatest change to his world.
`Towards the end of the novel Ort prays for a miracle: "Funny when you talk to God. He's like the sky . . . Never says anything. But you know he listens." Though God hasn't answered Ort yet, Mr. Winton convinces us he might' New York Times
`The great strength of the novel is in the way the grotesque contrasts and parallels in human life are spread out, examined and accepted' Los Angeles Times
Tim Winton has published twenty-one books for adults and children, and his work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Since his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the Australian/Vogel Award in 1981, he has won the Miles Franklin Award four times (for Shallows, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music and Breath) and twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (for The Riders and Dirt Music). Active in the environmental movement, he is the Patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society. He lives in Western Australia.