Although the characters are simpler than, say, those of The Riders, or Dirt Music, they are still realistic, and children and adults will warm to the good hearted Abel, and his aging but independent and strong mother.
Blueback is also a character to be noted, and Winton’s writing is always, beautiful and full of detail and the rich observations which makes his settings come to life: He felt like a speck, like a bubble on the sea left by a braking wave, here for a moment and then gone.
For Abel, every day is special, as he explores the ever-changing sea, and the surrounding bush in which he lives.
He feels lucky, and even luckier when he meets and befriends a large, old groper fish that he names Blueback.
Their lives are not easy, but they have enough, and Able spends his days exploring the ocean, which he finds exhilarating and intimidating.
Dora tells Able that Jacksons have lived there for a very long time, and the two clearly have an idyllic existence.
He pulled into tiny sheltered coves and swam with his mother in turquoise water beneath streaky cliffs and trees loud with birds. He stayed just behind the breakers and was showered with their spray and saw the great, strange land through the wobbly glass of the waves. Winton called this novel a contemporary fable, and there is certainly a clear and obvious moral with a positive answer to the question of how can we live in the modern world with our morality and respect for the environment intact.
This is a lovely, and easy to read novel which will appeal to children of all ages, as well as adults.
When Abel sees Costello “stripping the reef bare” he goes out and stops him and in the process saves Blueback. Another example of Abel being unselfish is when Longboat Bay is almost ruined by an oil spill and Abel rushes to call his mother to see if she’s alright.
Another important character is Costello the antagonist and the reader is invited to be critical of his actions towards the environment. This is shown in the quote “That summer he learnt that there was nothing in nature as a cruel and savage human being.” This quote “ The deck of Costello’s boat was awash with blood..lay in huge slippery mounds and so many of them were undersize...