I am too daunted to attempt a proper review of The Broken Shore by Peter Temple, which I have just read. I have read many reviews of this book over the past months on various blogs, I’ve bought it, but have not read it — until the announcement that it has won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for this year made me do so out of shame.
Every blog post I’ve read about the award has lauded the book. Now that I’ve finished it, I can only add my admiration to everyone else’s. It is a wonderful book, with many layers. The crime fiction element only really kicks in for the last quarter, and at this stage you just have to sit down and read it all because it is intense. The main, earlier part of the book is slow-burn character study, beautiful placeism and mysterious back story, all creating an atmospheric world that is a pleasure to sink into each time you open the pages. There is drama, sadness and insight. The everyday casual brutalities of racism and ruination of the beautiful, grand environment of this most wonderful continent are compellingly conveyed. It is a book that will repay a second read, that’s for sure.