In The Shepherd’s Hut, Winton crafts the story of Jaxie Clackton, a brutalized rural youth who flees from the scene of his father’s violent death and strikes out for the vast wilds of Western Australia. All he carries with him is a rifle and a waterjug. All he wants is peace and freedom. But surviving in the harsh saltlands alone is a savage business. And once he discovers he’s not alone out there, all Jaxie’s plans go awry. The Shepherd’s Hut is a tale of unlikely friendship and yearning, at once brutal and lyrical.
Tim Winton’s new novel hovers between a profane confession and a plea for help. A distinctly Down Under story by this most Australian writer, The Shepherd’s Hut is almost too painful to read, but also too plaintive to put down ... If too many contemporary novels strike you as effete and suburban, here’s survivalist fiction at its rawest from a novelist who sometimes sounds as bleak as our own Cormac McCarthy.
Winton thrusts the reader into the barren and unforgiving salt land in western Australia. With the author’s intimate knowledge of the harsh landscape, it serves as the catalyst for action. Jaxie’s distinctive, gritty language renders his story visceral, and an absolute thrill to read.